Michigan AG sues firm over PFAS contamination in metro Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan Lawyer Basic Dana Nessel is suing a producer over alleged failure to wash up PFAS and different hazardous substances, saying FKI {Hardware} must be held accountable for leaving “a legacy of contamination” in West Michigan.

FKI {Hardware} relies in California and now primarily does enterprise in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The corporate owns 9 former Keeler Brass foundry, steel ending and plating vegetation throughout West Michigan that operated for many years till 2016.

Michigan AG sues firm over PFAS contamination in metro Grand Rapids

Asserting the lawsuit Thursday, Nessel mentioned the websites launched “quite a few hazardous substances into the atmosphere,” together with the carcinogen PFAS, posing a threat to the folks there.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announces a lawsuit against FKI Hardware over PFAS contamination. (Sept. 29, 2022)
Michigan Lawyer Basic Dana Nessel declares a lawsuit in opposition to FKI {Hardware} over PFAS contamination. (Sept. 29, 2022)

“A few of these substances at sure concentrations can seep up by means of the soil and pose threat to folks respiration within the air in buildings and in addition above the contamination websites,” Nessel mentioned.

The contamination was in soil and groundwater on the amenities, Nessel mentioned.

“Michiganders have a proper to dwell, work and play with out worrying about being uncovered to the dangers related to PFAS or different contaminants,” Nessel mentioned.

After PFAS was found in personal residential wells within the Belmont space in 2017, linked to an area shoe producer, Michigan launched a widespread survey for the rising contaminant. Since then, state officers have detected more than 200 contaminated sites across the state.

“The one factor all of us have in widespread is all of us have PFAS in our blood,” Nessel mentioned. “All of us must take this matter very, very severely.

An FKI Hardware facility at 955 Godfrey Avenue SW in Grand Rapids. (Sept. 29, 2022)
An FKI {Hardware} facility at 955 Godfrey Avenue SW in Grand Rapids. (Sept. 29, 2022)

At a former plant on Godfrey Avenue in Grand Rapids, the states says there may be an “imminent and substantial endangerment to human well being and the atmosphere. In keeping with the lawsuit, the contamination is at ranges “demonstrated to current acute adverse well being dangers” to folks in and across the constructing.

“Michigan legislation requires all companies to deal with the air pollution that they trigger,” Nessel mentioned. “FKI {Hardware} and its predecessors have refused to do what all companies in Michigan should do. And that’s merely unacceptable.”

The legal professional common claimed that regardless of three years of efforts from the state, FKI has not totally investigated nor addressed the air pollution. Now, she desires the Kent County Circuit Court docket to power FKI to take action.

“It’s unacceptable for firms like FKI {Hardware} to pollute Michigan’s atmosphere and put the well being and security of Michigan households in danger, after which depart with out addressing the contamination they left behind,” Nessel mentioned.

Nessel can also be asking for damages for what the lawsuit calls “the destruction of pure sources” due to the air pollution.

Sandy Wynn-Steldt is the co-chair of the Nice Lakes PFAS Motion Community. She lives within the Belmont space the place PFAS was discovered to have contaminated the groundwater and was discovered to have excessive ranges of PFAS in her blood. Her husband died of liver most cancers and Wynn-Stelt herself had thyroid and lymph most cancers, too.

“Folks pollute us and simply bail out and depart taxpayers to wash up the mess,” she mentioned. “That could be a nonpartisan challenge. All of us consider for those who make a large number it’s a must to clear it up.”

“We want polluters and producers to be the one which foot the invoice,” she added. “Not taxpayers.”

Within the lawsuit, Nessel can also be asking for damages, blaming FKI for destroying pure sources by means of the air pollution.

These concerned say their combat is way from over.

“We don’t assume it’s too late,” mentioned Polly Synk with the Lawyer Basic’s workplace. “We expect there’s all the time a must attempt to do higher, include this contamination, search for methods higher know-how to destroy it, to attenuate it, and discover methods to only hold it from persevering with to be the issue that we’re seeing right this moment.”

“We put a person on the moon,” Wynn-Steldt added. “All of us discovered the macarena at one level. And we discovered how you can unmute Zoom. We will do issues after we put our minds to it — I actually consider it. However we are able to’t do it if folks pollute us after which simply bail out and depart taxpayers to wash up the mess.”

The lawsuit is a part of the state’s PFAS Litigation Venture, pursuing firms concerned in these instances.

“Making certain that new merchandise which can be on the market don’t include PFAS… whether or not it’s remediation efforts… or whether or not it’s efforts to carry polluters accountable… we’ve got to be tireless find some form of a repair,” Nessel mentioned.