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Judge approves PFAS settlement involving Wolverine Worldwide

U.S. District Court Judge Janet T. Neff of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan approved the settlement Wednesday, Feb. 19.

LANSING, Mich. — A judge approved a proposed settlement involving a lawsuit made against Wolverine Worldwide Inc. for contaminating residential drinking water in West Michigan townships with per- and polyfluoroalkyl contamination (PFAS). 

U.S. District Court Judge Janet T. Neff of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan approved the settlement Wednesday, Feb. 19.

The state of Michigan, Plainfield and Algoma townships sued Wolverine for relief following the discovery of PFAS contamination in northern Kent County residential drinking water wells from the company's use and disposal of PFAS-containing materials in its historic operations. 

A $69.5 million settlement was reached back in December but terms of the settlement remedies weren't approved by Wolverine until this month. 

Have questions about the settlement? Check out this list of FAQs. 

The consent decree, as part of the settlement, requires Wolverine to not only pay $69.5 million to extend municipal water to more than 1,000 properties, but the company must also continue to operate and maintain drinking water filters for the North Kent County study area. Wolverine is also required to continue residential drinking water well sampling. 

Wolverine will conduct these activities under EGLE oversight, and the consent decree includes tools that ensure that the required work is completed.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel issued this statement following Judge Neff's approval of the consent decree:

“I am pleased that the Court acted so quickly to enter the Consent Decree – this enables a push for construction to begin this spring to bring relief to residents of North Kent County most heavily impacted by PFAS contamination from Wolverine. At the public comment session I hosted in Rockford last week, residents made clear that getting work started to address the threats posed by PFAS contamination – real, tangible action – was the top priority.  This settlement does that.”  

Wolverine also provided a statement:

"Wolverine Worldwide is very pleased that Judge Neff has approved the Consent Decree we reached earlier this month with the State of Michigan, Plainfield Charter Township and Algoma Township. This Consent Decree resolves the litigation between the parties and includes significant next steps in Wolverine’s extensive efforts to ensure long-term water quality and continued environmental remediation in and around its hometown. These steps includes extending municipal water to more than 1,000 properties in Algoma and Plainfield Townships, continued maintenance of highly-effective water filters and resampling of certain residential wells for PFAS, ongoing remediation at the Company’s former tannery and House Street sites, and investigations to further assess the presence of PFAS in area groundwater."

See a map of properties that will be included in the settlement. 

A list of addresses included in the settlement can be seen here.


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