House Street Disposal Area, Belmont, MI, Kent County

Perfluorinated compound (PFC) Detections near House Street NE and Herrington Avenue NELaunch button to view the DEQ PFAS Investigation Map

Wolverine Worldwide, Inc. (Wolverine) used the property located near House Street NE and Herrington Avenue NE for the disposal of industrial wastes generated from the production of water resistant consumer products. The property is located in rural Plainfield Township, Kent County, Michigan.  Area residences surrounding the disposal area are served by private water wells.  In the mid-1960s, the property was operated as a licensed landfill under Act 87 of the Public Acts of 1965 for the disposal of solid waste.  Wolverine utilized the property exclusively to dispose of lime-sludge wastes from the treatment of tanning wastes.  Lime slurry wastes were also disposed of in trenches dug across the property. The property also contained seepage pits, which were used for disposing of lime liquor (a mixture of lime, water, dissolved protein, and fat), and other liquid wastes.

PFCs have been classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) as an emerging contaminant on the national landscape. PFCs are a class of man-made chemicals introduced in the 1950s to make products that resist heat, stains, grease, and water. For example, PFCs may be used to keep food from sticking to cookware, to make stain-resistant sofa cushions and carpets, to make clothes and mattresses that repel water, in food packaging like pizza boxes, and in cosmetics, paints, and cleaning products. In addition, since PFCs help reduce friction, they are widely used in a variety of other industries including aerospace, automotive, building and construction, and electronics.

In July 2017, Wolverine began sampling residential wells east and south of the property. The sampling was conducted in response to citizen concerns regarding the potential for the waste in the disposal area to have included Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), sometimes called PFCs. 

Wolverine is currently working closely with state and local officials to collect data from the House Street Disposal Area, and the Rockford Tannery to understand the possible presence of PFCs. Proactive measures are underway to test residential water samples for PFCs. Some residential samples have detected PFCs at levels above the U.S. EPA lifetime health advisory level of 70 parts per trillion. Wolverine is providing bottle water and certified water filtration systems to homes with PFC detections. Wolverine along with state and local environmental experts and officials are sharing testing and other information with residents of Plainfield Township and the surrounding community.

What is the DEQ doing?

The DEQ works in collaboration with others to manage risk at sites of environmental contamination. The DEQ's role when a potentially liable party is voluntarily performing response activities under state law is to ensure that the activities protect the public health, safety, welfare and the environment. The DEQ will monitor the activities of the potentially liable party, provide technical assistance and assure that the activities comply with state law.

For additional assistance, please email the Environmental Assistance Center or call 800-662-9278.

If you live in the designated study area and would like free water testing, please fill out and send this Request of Water Testing email form.

If you live near an area that you believe may be a suspected Waste Disposal Area, please fill out and send this Suspected Waste Disposal Area email form.

Residents please note:

Many residents have inquired about which whole house filters are certified to remove PFOS/PFOA.  At this time, the DEQ is not aware of any whole house filters currently on the market that are certified to remove PFOS/PFOA by the NFS International.

DEQ Current Actions

10/15/17 MDOT-House Street Waste Removal Update: Efforts began this week by Wolverine to prepare the MDOT property to use equipment to remove the waste materials that were discovered earlier this fall.  So far 21 partially buried drums and one buried waste drum have been removed.  In addition approximately 40 yards of leather scraps and waste materials were excavated and placed into roll offs for disposal.   The removal work is expected to take several more days to complete.  DEQ staff were on site to oversee the removal efforts by Wolverine.

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