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Wisconsin DNR to sample hundreds of wells for PFAS in Peshtigo

Potable well owners in the Expanded Site Investigation Area with PFOA and PFOS at or above 20 ppt (parts per trillion) in their drinking water may be eligible for a temporary bottled water supply provided by the DNR or any identified responsible party.
Map showing locations where PFAS investigations will be or are being conducted in the Marinette and Peshtigo area.
Map showing locations where PFAS investigations will be or are being conducted in the Marinette and Peshtigo area.(Wisconsin DNR)
Published: Sep. 30, 2020 at 1:56 PM EDT
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PESHTIGO, Wis. (Press Release/WLUC) - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is conducting sampling of potable wells in an Expanded Site Investigation Area in the Town of Peshtigo due to the potential presence of groundwater contaminated with PFAS, using state funds.

On Wednesday, Sept. 30, the DNR is sending a packet of documents to potable well owners in the Town of Peshtigo regarding the DNR’s well sampling plans. The packets will arrive via the U.S. Postal Service. The packets will contain several items, including a Potable Well Survey, an Access Permission Agreement and a letter to the property owner.

“It is important that potable well owners in the prescribed area who want their drinking water well tested for PFAS return both the survey and the access agreement to the DNR as soon as possible. We are asking that well owners return the forms to us with a postmark date no later than Oct. 21,” said Christine Haag, DNR Remediation and Redevelopment Program Director. “Well owners are not required to have their well sampled; however, the DNR recommends that well owners participate in the sampling program and have their well sampled, so that the DNR can provide detailed information about potential PFAS in their drinking water. There is no cost to the potable well owner for the sampling.”

Potable well owners in the Expanded Site Investigation Area with PFOA and PFOS at or above 20 ppt (parts per trillion) in their drinking water may be eligible for a temporary bottled water supply provided by the DNR or any identified responsible party. All well owners can expect to receive results via Postal Service within 30-days of the sampling event.

If the sample results from a well exceeds the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) recommended groundwater standard of 20 ppt individually or combined PFOA + PFOS, the well owner will be contacted via telephone by the DNR within 24-hrs of receipt of data from the laboratory. If the sample results identify PFAS compounds other than PFOA or PFOS, the results will be forwarded to DHS for review. DHS will contact well owners if additional action is warranted.

PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are a group of human-made chemicals used for decades in numerous products including non-stick cookware, fast food wrappers, stain-resistant sprays and certain types of firefighting foam. These contaminants have made their way into the environment through accidental spills of PFAS-containing materials, discharges of PFAS-containing wastewater to treatment plants and certain types of firefighting foams.

PFAS contamination has been detected in the Marinette and Peshtigo area in soil, sediment, groundwater, surface water, private drinking water wells and biosolids. Under the oversight of the DNR, JCI and Tyco Fire Products have been identified as responsible parties and have been directed by the DNR to conduct investigations into areas impacted by PFAS contamination in the Marinette and Peshtigo area due to their companies' operations. The DNR is sampling potable wells in the Expanded Site Investigation Area due to JCI/Tyco declining to perform the sampling within the area as required by Wisconsin law.

The DNR continues close coordination on these matters with JCI/Tyco and is monitoring their progress to investigate and address PFAS contamination in the Marinette area.

Well owners and area residents with questions about the DNR’s potable well sampling may submit them to DNRJCIPFAS@Wisconsin.gov or calling 1-888-626-3244.

Because the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency does not have a federal drinking water standard for these contaminants, like other states, Wisconsin is working to address this critical issue. The rule-making process started with the state department of health services recommending a cumulative groundwater enforcement standard of 20 parts per trillion (ppt) for PFOA and PFOS.

The recommended standards will be enforceable once the rules are finalized. More information on the status of this rules process is available on the DNR’s NR 140 Groundwater Quality Standards web page.

More information regarding PFAS contamination in the Marinette and Peshtigo area is available on the DNR’s Marinette and Peshtigo PFAS web page.

Copyright 2020 WLUC. All rights reserved.

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