GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Dec. 19, 2017 – The nonprofit West Michigan Sports Commission (WMSC), who owns and manages the Art Van Sports Complex (AVSC) at 3300 10 Mile Rd. NE in Plainfield Township, continues taking proactive steps to ensure that its water is safe. This action comes as a result of a recent confirmation that the North Kent Landfill on 10 Mile Road NE, which closed in 1986, contains several years of sludge deposited by Wolverine Worldwide from a former tannery.

It has been reported that Kent County has not yet tested for PFAS (Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances) in the network of wells around the landfill adjacent to the Art Van Sports Complex, so there is no confirmation of contamination.

The Art Van Sports Complex uses public water from the Plainfield Township Water Treatment Plant for drinking fountains, concessions and bathrooms, which the Township tests for safety regularly. The only well water on the premises is used for irrigating the complex’s ballfields. (The Kent County Health Department has confirmed that contaminated water does not affect the skin; it can only potentially cause harm if ingested.)

Even though the AVSC does not source any drinking water from wells, the West Michigan Sports Commission is scheduling water testing for any level of PFAS in the two wells that provide irrigation water.  The WMSC is also providing information to tournament operators and directors about the situation.

“The West Michigan Sports Commission’s top priority is ensuring that our visitors to the Art Van Sports Complex are safe – and that includes providing safe water,” said Mike Guswiler, president. “We are completely confident that our drinking water is safe because it is sourced directly from the Plainfield Charter Township Water Department which tests daily.  While there is no confirmation of ground water contamination, we don’t want to take any chances with possibilities for contamination elsewhere.  The only way to know for sure is to test all of our water sources. We will take appropriate action depending on the outcome.”

Construction began on the Art Van Sports Complex in fall 2012, when environmental tests were done on both the AVSC property and on adjacent property that could have been impacted by the former landfill.  Testing of the property at that time revealed no concerns and evaluation of the adjacent landfill to the west showed a southwest flow of leachate (away from the AVSC property). The Art Van Sports Complex officially opened in August 2014.

The WMSC will post updated information on this issue at www.westmisports.com/venues/art-van-complex

Other related information can be found at the following sources:

AccessKent.com/Health/PFAS/belmont.htm - Kent County Health Department
PlainfieldMi.org/water - Plainfield Township Water Department
Michigan.gov/documents/deq/deq-tou-OER-BelmontGW_FAQ_605164_7.pdf - MDEQ Fact Sheet
Wolverineworldwide.com/about-us/environment/ - environment page of corporate site
WeareWolverine.com - Wolverine Worldwide blog about contamination issue

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About the West Michigan Sports Commission

The West Michigan Sports Commission, a non-profit 501 (c) (3), works to identify, secure and host a diverse level of youth and amateur sporting events to make a positive impact on the region’s economy and quality of life. Celebrating 10 years since its inception in 2007, the WMSC has booked 640 sporting events and tournaments that attracted more than 1 million athletes and visitors, generating $290 million in direct visitor spending. For more information, visit westmisports.com.

About the Art Van Sports Complex

A flagship project of the West Michigan Sports Commission, the Art Van Sports Complex is a championship-caliber baseball/softball complex in Plainfield Township featuring eight baseball and softball fields, including the 1,000-seat Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation Championship Field; Nate Hurwitz Miracle League Field for children with disabilities; warm-up areas, restrooms, concessions and maintenance building; and parking for more than 400 vehicles. Visit artvansportscomplex.com for more information.



Media Contacts

West Michigan Sports Commission:

Katy Tigchelaar

Kim Skeltis, Blue Blaze PR

Meijer State Games of Michigan:

Eric Engelbarts, II

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