Emails indicate the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality may not have immediately acted on a warning regarding groundwater contaminated by waste from a footwear manufacturer.

Emails obtained by The Grand Rapids Press show that state geologist Mark Worrall told the department in April that homes south of Wolverine World Wide's sludge dump should be tested for toxic chemicals.

The emails indicate the department didn't begin testing homes in that area until July. Many weren't looked at until September.


Recent water tests at elementary schools in Flint have found an increase in samples showing lead levels above the federal action limit.

The Flint Journal reports the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality determined that 28 samples tested in February were above 15 parts per billion of lead. That compares to 20 such samples in January.

Department spokesman George Krisztian says the increase may be due to changes in testing conditions, such as the decision to collect samples before flushing lines.

Health and environmental regulators across Michigan are playing catch-up with industrial chemicals that remain in the ground or water long after initially being discovered. The state has a list of more than 3,000 vapor intrusion sites.  The overwhelming number of locations means state regulators wait to be informed about problems by property owners, complaints from neighbors, environmental assessments required for construction projects or reviews mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency.

John Austin,

The world is experiencing a new industrial transformation. A new report by the Michigan Economic Center says the state is positioned to grow hundreds of businesses and tens of thousands of new jobs. WGVU talks with the report’s lead author about how Michigan can be a leader in emerging sectors.

“We benefited and helped lead one economic transformation, the great industrial economy.”

John Austin is Director of the Michigan Economic Center and lead author of a new report, “Jobs, Michigan, and Leadership in the Economy of Tomorrow”


The head of Flint schools wants a comprehensive plan from the state that includes multiple rounds of testing of faucet and drinking fountain water for lead.

Flint Community Schools Superintendent Bilal Tawwab says Wednesday during a news conference that students will not be allowed to drink from the tap until officials and health professionals are satisfied with the water's safety.

He says the district will continue to use bottled water. The district serves about 4,500 students.

Water faucet
Public domain image / Wikimedia.org

Gov. Rick Snyder has signed a $52.8 million supplemental budget bill that includes money to respond to an emerging chemical contaminant found across Michigan.

The law enacted Wednesday allocates $23.2 million to address groundwater contamination from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, at 28 sites in 14 communities. It's recently drawn scrutiny north of Grand Rapids, where footwear company Wolverine World Wild dumped waste sludge decades ago.

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.

Water faucet
Public domain image / Wikimedia.org

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.

A lawsuit alleges that General Motors has contaminated water near a Michigan testing facility since the 1980s and has attempted to cover it up. The lawsuit was filed Thursday on behalf of six Brighton Township residents who allege that the Milford Proving Grounds contaminated water with high levels of sodium and chloride. The lawsuit says the facility released thousands of tons of salt over the past 30 years.

A judge is promising a decision in the weeks ahead after hearing arguments in a dispute over a company's bid to pump more water for the Ice Mountain brand.

Nestle Waters North America sued after Osceola Township rejected a permit in Osceola County in western Michigan.

Nestle wants to withdraw up to 400 gallons a minute, with help from a pipeline booster station at SpringHill Camps, a summer camp.