Action Concerning Demolished Rockford Building Yet to be Determined

The EPA and DEQ are in the process of completing a preliminary site assessment at the former site of Wolverine World Wide’s tannery inRockford.  The process will determine contamination levels from chemicals found on and near the site. EPA officials announced Tuesday night at a public meeting that a number of chemical contaminants have been identified in soil and water samples including arsenic, chromium, mercury, cadmium and others.

Contaminants were found in 24 different soil and water samples taken upriver and adjacent to where the tannery sat along theRogue Riverbefore it was demolished in 2010. A Final report of the site will be delivered mid-late June 2012.

The final report will determine if further action is needed by regulatory agencies or the company to clean the chemicals. Given that the soil and water samples are above average but not at crisis level, it is unlikely that the site’s situation will escalate to the national priorities list.

Nuria Muñiz, a coordinator for the EPA’s Site Assessment National Priorities List, said “We are still evaluating the site to see if any contamination may affect human health or the environment, and what the appropriate response will be.”

“WMEAC is appreciative of the due-diligence provided by the EPA & DEQ on this site. Citizens of Rockford who pressed for this research should also be thanked; their legacy on this issue will be scientifically-based assurances that public health and environmental integrity of the Rockford area & Rogue River will be protected for future generations,” said Rachel Hood, Director of West Michigan Environmental Action Council.

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