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Wisconsin DNR sends notices regarding wastewater discharge for Johnson Controls/Tyco facility in Marinette

The draft permit proposes substantial reductions in arsenic loading to the Menominee River and first-time imposition of PFAS limitations.
Johnson Controls location in Marinette.
Johnson Controls location in Marinette.((Google Map))
Published: Aug. 6, 2020 at 1:17 PM EDT
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MADISON, Wis. (Press Release/WLUC) - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has published its intent to reissue the Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (WPDES) permit that regulates industrial wastewater discharges from the Johnson Controls Inc. and Tyco Fire Products, LP Facility (“JCI/Tyco”) at 1 St. in Marinette, Wisconsin. The draft permit proposes substantial reductions in arsenic loading to the Menominee River and first-time imposition of PFAS limitations.

The Wisconsin DNR will hold a virtual public hearing on this proposed action on Sept. 24, 2020. The public may submit written comments on the draft permit until Sept. 24, 2020. Comments can be submitted to Trevor.Moen@wisconsin.gov. The public notice, including instructions for attendance of the virtual public hearing, will be posted on the DNR website and published in the Eagle Herald.

The 1 Stanton St. facility currently discharges effluent from two outfalls to the Menominee River. One outfall discharges process wastewater after treatment, non-process wastewater associated with the manufacturing of fire protection products, stormwater runoff from roof drains. That industrial sewer system associated with that outfall is currently susceptible to infiltration of contaminated groundwater beneath the site, which reaches surface water without treatment.

Tyco also pumps contaminated groundwater from beneath the site to maintain groundwater levels and discharges this groundwater after treatment through a second outfall.  Maintenance of steady groundwater levels and abandonment of the underground industrial sewer system will minimize potential for untreated, contaminated groundwater to migrate offsite.

The draft permit requires several actions by JCI/Tyco in order to minimize arsenic and mercury concentrations in the Menominee River, as conditions of proposed variances to water quality standards for those two pollutants:

  1. Upgrade the existing groundwater treatment system to include the best available treatment technology for removal of arsenic and mercury, ensuring best possible quality of discharge;
  2. Abandon the outfall from the existing underground storm sewer system to eliminate discharge of untreated groundwater that infiltrates into the sewer system;
  3. Complete the diversion of treated process wastewater and treated groundwater to a single combined outfall.
  4. Complete the diversion of boiler blowdown and noncontact cooling water to the City of Marinette sanitary sewer system;
  5. Complete diversion of roof drain runoff to surface conveyance.

In taking the actions above, the department would authorize JCI/Tyco to discharge treated groundwater from the site, thereby preventing accumulation of contaminated groundwater within underground containment walls and, ultimately, preventing a release of contaminated groundwater to the Menominee River without treatment.  In order to realize the best possible environmental outcome, the draft permit proposes to require best available treatment for removal of arsenic and mercury while recognizing that attainment of water quality standards for these pollutants is infeasible with available treatment.

In addition, JCI/Tyco has agreed to install treatment to remove per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) as a part of the upgrades to the existing groundwater treatment system located at the site. The draft permit includes proposed limits and monitoring for PFOS that are protective of Michigan’s Water Quality Standard of 11 parts per trillion, given that the receiving water, the Menominee River, is an interstate water.

The proposed JCI/Tyco permit, fact sheet, the public notice, other permit support documents are available on the DNR webpage for “WPDES Permits on public notice” here.

To view a public notice, click on the date of public notice indicated under the column heading entitled “Notice Publication Date.” The proposed permit can be downloaded by clicking on the file size indicated under the column entitled “Permit Draft.” The fact sheet, which provides justifications for the permit conditions, can be downloaded by clicking on the file size indicated under the column entitled “Supporting Documents.”

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