A group of Michigan lawmakers is asking the Environmental Protection Agency to do more to investigate nearly 30 toxic chemical contamination around the state. Eight Republicans and six Democrats signed a letter to the EPA on Tuesday asking the agency to help with the state's response to perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl water pollution.

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Court records show that a shoe manufacturer reached an agreement with a Michigan township nearly 50 years ago that allowed the company to continue dumping tannery sludge in the area as long as the waste didn't contaminate water.

The Grand Rapids Press reports that attorneys representing local homeowners summarized the 1966 court settlement with Plainfield Township in a lawsuit recently filed against Wolverine World Wide. The lawsuit alleges that the company's old landfill in Belmont contaminated water with perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl.

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Two West Michigan State Representatives are asking residents impacted by water contamination in Northern Kent County to access new websites providing updated information.

State Representatives Chris Afendoulis whose district includes Plainfield Township and Rob VerHeulen, whose district includes Rockford, are following developments on Wolverine World Wide’s House Street Disposal site and ground water contamination discovered there. The representatives have issued a joint statement assuring their top priority is the health and safety of affected residents. 

Image of the Kalamazoo River in Saugatuck.
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The south banks of the Kalamazoo River will remain closed this summer as work begins upstream on four more areas needing cleanup and restoration.

The Kalamazoo Gazette reports that sediments, riverbanks and floodplains from Kalamazoo to Lake Michigan are contaminated with toxic waste from paper mills that once dotted the river from Kalamazoo to Otsego. The 1.7-mile cleanup of polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, started in Kalamazoo and has continued for the past few years in sections.

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Officials say the newest phase in a multi-year cleanup of dioxin contamination downstream of the Dow Chemical Co. plant in Midland should get underway next year and cost about $6 million.

Discharges from the plant in the last century boosted levels of dioxins in the Tittabawassee and Saginaw rivers and their floodplains.

Dioxins are highly toxic chemicals that can cause serious health problems including cancer.

Cleanup has been underway since 2012 on a 21-mile section of the Tittabawassee floodplain.

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Results show more private drinking wells are testing positive for toxic fluorocarbons leaching from the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base. reports the results show chemical plumes have crossed an inland lake and have moved closer to Lake Huron, expanding the area where people could be drinking unsafe water.

Between 200 and 300 homes are in the newly affected area.

Christina Bush, a toxicologist with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, says none of the latest well tests exceeded a federal health advisory for Oscoda groundwater.


Officials say a $7.9 million project to restore wetlands and fish habitat will be the last major step toward removing Muskegon Lake from a list of the Great Lakes region's most heavily polluted sites.

The lake was designated an "area of concern" because of damage from industrial discharges, shoreline alterations and filling of open water and coastal wetlands.

Government agencies and private groups have worked for years to cleanse sediments and restore fish and wildlife populations.

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Records show pollutants that have been linked to health problems including cancer and childhood developmental issues have been found in public drinking water supplies for two Michigan communities. reports utilities serving Kent County's Plainfield Township, near Grand Rapids, and the city of Ann Arbor reported perfluorooctane sulfonate, known as PFOS, and perfluorooctanoic acid, known as PFOA, in raw and treated water.

So far, samples haven't exceeded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's health advisory guidelines for the chemicals.

Base: Google Maps / Map information: EPA / Graphic: Hilary Farrell

Several residences have received some form of environmental remediation as testing and cleanup continues at the site of a former dry cleaner in southeast Grand Rapids. 

Elizabeth Nightingale of the Environmental Protection Agency says 51 property assessments have been performed as of mid-July related to vapor intrusion issues at the chemically-contaminated site on the corner of Hall Street and Madison Avenue SE.

She says that includes a recent expansion further west and south following new groundwater information.

Kayla Tucker

A federal mobile laboratory is in town, testing for possible indoor air contamination in homes and properties near an evacuated structure in southeast Grand Rapids.

"So this week, one of the major things that we’re working on is we started sampling the neighborhood that we’re targeting for additional vapor intrusion assessment – just to verify the indoor air is safe."