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Footwear company will pay $113M

LANSING (AP) — A footwear maker’s cost to resolve a lawsuit over contaminated drinking water in western Michigan is $113 million, but it will be less due to a $55 million payment from chemical giant 3M.

The consent decree among Rockford, Michigan-based Wolverine World Wide, the state of Michigan and two Grand Rapids-area townships was approved by a federal judge this week.

The settlement includes more than the previously announced $69.5 million that Wolverine will provide over a multi-year period to extend municipal water to more than 1,000 properties with private wells in Algoma and Plainfield townships — near where Wolverine dumped “forever” chemicals known as perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, decades ago. The company will spend an estimated $43.5 million on environmental investigation and remediation costs.

Maplewood, Minnesota-based 3M, which was sued by Wolverine in 2018 — its co-defendant in a number of lawsuits — will pay $55 million to support the shoemaker’s past and ongoing efforts to address PFAS remediation in the two townships under the consent decree. 3M began manufacturing the compounds in the 1950s and in 2000 announced a voluntary phaseout of production of two types, PFOA and PFOS.

They were used in Scotchgard — which was sold to Wolverine — and in firefighting foams and other products. Wolverine has a number of shoe brands, including Hush Puppies, Keds, Saucony and Stride Rite.

“We have been committed from the very beginning to being part of comprehensive water quality solutions for the community Wolverine has called home for nearly 140 years,” Blake W. Krueger, chairman, CEO and president of Wolverine, said in statement.

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