GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A judge has tentatively approved a $54 million settlement between 3M Co., the shoe maker, and west Michigan property owners who said their land and wells were contaminated with toxic “perpetual chemicals.”

The deal includes about 1,700 properties north of Grand Rapids.

The compounds fall into a category known as perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS. They have long been used in many industrial applications, do not break down easily, and can migrate from soil to groundwater.

“The settlement is fair, reasonable, adequate and meets pre-approval standards,” U.S. District Judge Hala Jarbu said last week, scheduling the final fairness hearing for March 29.

A class-action lawsuit was filed in 2017 against 3M and Wolverine Worldwide, a shoe company based in Rockford, Michigan.

PFAS was used to make Scotchgard, a 3M waterproofing product used by Wolverine, which has a number of brands including Hush Puppies, Merrell, Keds, Saucony and Chaco.

There is no dispute that Wolverine regularly dumped chemical-laced sludge in northern Kent County decades ago. PFAS are known as “permanent chemicals” because they persist in the environment for a long time.

Wolverine said that 3M is “pleased to settle this lawsuit and believe this settlement represents another important step toward resolving this issue and doing the right thing for our community.”

In 2019, Michigan officials announced a $69.5 million settlement with Wolverine that included expanding public water supplies to affected areas. Wolverine said Minnesota-based 3M covers most of the community.

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