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Wolverine Worldwide and 3M are to pay US$54 million to Michigan property owners following a class action suit over PFAS contamination.
A federal judge has granted preliminary approval for the settlement, which would be divided between around 1,700 residences in Kent county, where Wolverine is accused of dumping PFAS contaminated tannery sludge.
The case was filed on the basis of loss of property value, excluding the facets of personal injury, which are often included in pollution lawsuits.
Around 275 individual plaintiffs also sued the two companies via the local legal system, the cases for which have already been settled.
Payouts will vary depending on the amount of contamination, number of people affected, whether Wolverine provided a water filtration system and other factors. The largest portion of the settlement, around US$11 million, will go to 111 properties with confirmed PFAS detections that exceed state drinking water standards of 500 ppt.
Reportedly, the chemicals entered the groundwater following Wolverine’s use of 3M’s Scotchgard product, a waterproofing agent, to treat its Hush Puppies shoe leather.
Following the case, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy will be evaluating the dump and tannery sites for inclusion on the federal Superfund list, which lists the most contaminated sites in the U.S.