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DNR Sampling Shows Low Levels of PFAS Contamination In Peshtigo River

Contact(s): Sarah Hoye, DNR Communications Director, 608-267-2773,
October 16, 2019 at 12:09:42 pm

MADISON, Wis. - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has received the first round of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) surface water sampling results from the State Lab of Hygiene for the Peshtigo River. Results show low levels of PFAS for the four sampling sites on or near the Peshtigo River.

On Oct. 7, the DNR released PFAS results from five sites around the state. The Peshtigo River sampling was added due to public concern about possible PFAS in the water. All sampling information and results are available on the DNR's water quality PFAS initiatives webpage.

The DNR is hosting a public listening session in Marinette on Wednesday, Oct. 16, to ensure that the public receives timely information about PFAS contamination in the Marinette-Peshtigo area. DNR representatives will be on hand to answer questions and hear concerns from community members as well as provide updates regarding the PFAS investigation and cleanup associated with the Johnson Controls International - Tyco Fire Products (JCI/Tyco) properties in Marinette. Staff from DNR's Division of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks will also be on hand to discuss plans for PFAS testing in wildlife. The Listening Session agenda is available here.

The water samples taken this summer are part of a broader effort by the DNR to assess PFAS contamination in surface water across Wisconsin. The testing sites include fire-fighting training grounds, areas near where PFAS was detected in drinking water wells, as well as two locations where elevated fish-tissue or wildlife blood levels were previously detected.

PFAS are a group of human-made chemicals used for decades in numerous products, such as non-stick cookware, fast food wrappers, stain-resistant sprays and firefighting foam. These contaminants bioaccumulate in the food chain and have made their way into the environment through spills of PFAS-containing materials, discharges of PFAS-containing wastewater to treatment plants and certain types of firefighting foams. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), exposure to some PFAS substance above certain levels may increase risk of adverse health effects, such as thyroid disease, low birthweights and cancer.

Under Governor Tony Evers' Year of Clean Drinking Water initiative, the DNR has taken several steps to address PFAS contamination, including a department request sent in July to 125 municipal wastewater treatment facilities to begin sampling and analyzing for PFAS.

The governor has also asked the DNR to begin PFAS rulemaking on surface water, drinking water and groundwater standards, and via executive order directed the DNR to work with state agencies and local partners to take several actions, including establishing a PFAS Coordinating Council and public information sites to inform the public on the matter of PFAS and the risk these chemicals pose to public health and Wisconsin's natural resources. Please visit the DNR website for more information on PFAS

Last Revised: Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Contact information

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For more information about news and media, contact:
Sarah Hoye
Director Of Communications
Office Of The Secretary