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EPA in Michigan

Wolverine World Wide Tannery

EPA and EGLE Working on Cleanup of Contamination 

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) are coordinating their investigation and cleanup of tannery pollution found in the Rockford and Belmont, Mich., areas. The contamination comes from Wolverine World Wide’s former tannery in Rockford and a waste dump known as the House Street Disposal Area in Belmont. Contaminants include per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS. The pollution also contains heavy metals, volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, and semi- volatile organic compounds, or SVOCs. Pollution has affected groundwater, so filters and bottled water have been provided to impacted residents. EGLE remains the lead agency investigating PFAS contamination in groundwater, surface water, and drinking water. EPA is directing the investigation of other contamination that may be associated with Wolverine’s former tannery and the House Street Disposal Area.

Site Update - Nov. 25, 2019

Wolverine World Wide Inc. recently began a short-term cleanup at the Wolverine Tannery and the House Street Disposal sites in Kent County. The Tannery is located at the northern end of the downtown district of the city of Rockford, and the House Street Disposal Area is on House Street in Plainfield Township.

This short-term cleanup, or time-critical removal action, is the result of a settlement agreement (PDF) between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Wolverine. This removal action is not a final remedy for the site, but it’s a very important step toward stabilizing the site and addressing the threat it poses to human health and the environment.

EPA will review and approve Wolverine’s removal workplans and oversee the cleanup, which will include:

  • Excavating and disposing of soils contaminated with metals at the Tannery property with concentrations that exceed leaching criteria, and at the House Street Disposal Area excavating and disposing of such soils or managing them on site in accordance with federal or state requirements.
  • Excavating and disposing of contaminated soils (0-3 feet below ground) west of the Tannery and adjacent to the White Pine Trail and the Rogue River where contaminant concentrations exceed residential criteria or where there’s evidence of waste materials.
  • Excavating and disposing of contaminated shallow soils (0-1 foot below ground) on the Tannery property where contaminant concentrations exceed EPA cleanup levels or State of Michigan direct contact criteria.
  • Removing contaminated sediment in areas near the shore of the Rogue River and at access points next to the Tannery property.
  • Maintaining signage and information kiosks along the White Pine Trail and at Rogue River access points.
  • Conducting additional investigations at a property west of the House Street Disposal Area and at an adjacent wetland to determine whether contamination is present in these areas.

Hazardous waste generated from this cleanup will be disposed offsite at a facility authorized to receive the contaminated material. 

Community Engagement

The Wolverine Community Advisory Group has formed and is now holding meetings.  For more information, visit the CAG’s website at

EPA and EGLE held a public meeting on March 26, 2019 to update the community on the Wolverine World Wide investigation. To view recorded meeting, visit EGLE’s link here:

To view updates on the work schedule, please visit Wolverine World Wide blog at

For more information:

  • Concerned residents can contact the State of Michigan Environmental Assistance Center at 800-662-9278 or
  • For questions about exposure to PFAS in drinking water, please contact the MDHHS Toxicology Hotline at 800-648-6942.
  • For information from the Kent County Department of Health about health effects of PFAS, please call 616-632-7100 or email

Sampling Data

EPA PFAS Method 537 Validated Results from Wolverine, Michigan(1 pg, 37 K)


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