BELMONT, MICH. - Residents with contaminated water who live near the old Wolverine Worldwide dumpsite in Plainfield Township said Sunday the company is not moving fast enough getting them whole-house filtration systems.
"They're not making a classic car here," said Sandy Wynn-Stelt, who lives across the street from the Wolverine dump on House Street in Belmont. "You know you've got a big problem here...I don't know what the delay is other than, I'm guessing, it's cost."
Wynn-Stelt lives at "Ground Zero" of the PFAS chemical contamination zone. Wolverine used the chemicals in Scotchgard to waterproof shoes. Wynn-Stelt's private well tested at 38,000 parts per trillion (ppt) -- the EPA safe drinking advisory level is just 70 ppt.
"Your water looks fine, so it took me quite a while to grasp the severity of this," Wynn-Stelt said. "I think, even now, there are some days where I can't wrap my head around how bad it is."
Wolverine tested Sandy's water in July, but did not bring her an external water filter until late September. Her home is part of the group of 338 Plainfield Township homes Wolverine Worldwide promised whole-house filtration systems, along with bottled water and kitchen filters.
Wolverine came last week to inspect for a whole-house filter, but couldn't answer many questions, Wynn-Stelt said.
"It sounds as though they have no idea what type of whole-home system they are going to use," she said. "What's the reliability of it? Are they going to come back and retest it after they put it in? And those are the pieces that still feel unclear to me. What [the tester] said was, 'We don't even know yet.'"
On Chandler Drive, a half-mile from the House Street dump, Lisa Ingraham shared Wynn-Stelt's concern. Her home tested around 10,000 ppt for the PFAS chemicals.
"They did put a filter in our sink, but we're still not allowed to drink the water from that filter," Ingraham said.
The contamination level is so high for the two homes, the filters cannot remove enough of the chemicals to make the water safe to drink. Wynn-Stelt and Ingraham said Wolverine needs to speed up the implementation of the whole-house filtration systems.
"I know it [seems] like turning the Titanic but it doesn't need to be that way," Sandy said.
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