Webinar: What lies beneath …. The legacy of Wolverine Worldwide and PFAS/PFOAS in Rockford, MI

Tuesday, July 10, 2018 1:00 PM CDT – 2:30 PM CDT
Register at https://adobe.ly/2ys522C

The “Blue Investing: Protecting water at the source” WasteWater Education complimentary 2018 online seminar series hosts award-winning Grand Rapids Press environment reporter Garret Ellison, who has extensively covered PFAS contamination, and Seth Pitkin Principal Hydrologist at Tetra Tech.

What lies beneath ….
The legacy of Wolverine Worldwide and PFAS/PFOAS in Rockford, MI
Tuesday July 10, 2018 at 2 PM ET – a complimentary online event.
[As we anticipate a high attendance for this event, if you receive a notice that registration is full please be assured that we will post a recording link]

Ellison has been covering the emerging PFAS contamination in Michigan since 2016, notably at Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Oscoda and around the Rockford and Belmont areas, where Wolverine World Wide dumped contaminated tannery waste.

Ellison will join us on Tuesday, July 10 to explain the scope and history of the still-unfolding PFAS contamination investigation in the northern Grand Rapids suburbs.

Residents of the Rockford and Belmont area have been living a nightmare since August 2017, when Ellison broke news that PFAS-laden tannery waste had contaminated drinking water supplies and surface water bodies in northern Kent County.

The investigation mushroomed into a multi-municipality search for Wolverine dump sites that helped the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality discover a second large PFAS plume believed to be the source of record levels of PFAS drinking water contamination.

Contamination levels related to Wolverine tannery waste are staggering. One private well near Rockford has tested at 62,500 parts-per-trillion (ppt) for PFOS and PFOA, two of numerous PFAS compounds that are being found in the area.

The contamination has strained property values and impacted the health and wellbeing of local residents. The CDC is aiding a local cancer study in the area. One family has discovered PFAS in the blood serum of their two year-old son at 484,000-ppt.

Recently, high levels of PFAS was confirmed in foam near the former tannery site on the Rogue River, a popular fishing river that drains into Lake Michigan.

Due in part to the Wolverine contamination, the state of Michigan created a PFAS Action Response Team out of Gov. Rick Snyder’s office called MPART, which is coordinating statewide testing of all public water supplies and municipal wastewater treatment plants.
Advanced additional treatment is required to remove PFAS during traditional drinking water and wastewater system processes.
Each of the 70-some plants around Michigan treating industrial wastewater have until late June to find PFAS users among their customer base and develop a plan to monitor for the chemicals before submitting a final report due June 29 and Oct. 26.

A May 2018 seminar, conducted by the Water Research Foundation, “Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in Water: Background, Treatment and Utility Perspective”, stated that the half life in humans is between 3.38 – 5.4 years by concentration. EPA Health Advisory lists 70 ng/l as a chronic exposure.

Garret Ellison is an investigative reporter with MLive Media Group, which publishes the Grand Rapids Press and MLive.com. He specializes in environmental issues. He is a former staff reporter at the Traverse City-Record Eagle who graduated from Central Michigan University. He was recently named the 2017 Journalist of the Year by the Michigan Press Association.

Joining the discussion is Seth Pitkin, Senior Project Manager at Tetra Tech EM Inc. Pitkin has a M.Sc. in chemical hydrogeology from the University of Waterloo along with 32 years of experience investigating subsurface contamination as well as water supply and wastewater disposal issues. Pitkin specializes in contaminant hydrogeology, investigation of organic chemicals in groundwater, and the vadose zone.

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