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PFAS contamination in the Marinette and Peshtigo area

PFAS contamination has been detected in the Marinette and Peshtigo area in soil, sediment, groundwater, surface water, private drinking water wells and biosolids.

FAQ for PFAS contamination in the Marinette and Peshtigo area.

Subscribe to Marinette and Peshtigo area PFAS contamination updates.

Find a certified lab that can test drinking water [PDF exit DNR].

Report a PFAS foam event suspected to be occurring in the Marinette and/or Peshtigo area.

Under the oversight of the DNR, Johnson Controls International – Tyco Fire Products (JCI/Tyco) began conducting a site investigation for PFAS contamination in Spring 2016. This investigation resulted in additional sites being identified where investigation work must be conducted. Additional parties responsible for PFAS contamination have also been identified. It is possible that more sites and responsible parties may be identified in the future necessitating additional investigation. This page will be updated as new information becomes available.

Public listening sessions

The DNR has scheduled a series of listening sessions to ensure that the public receives timely information about PFAS contamination in the Marinette-Peshtigo area. Community members are encouraged to attend to ask questions and discuss concerns with the DNR.

Questions about PFAS contamination in the Marinette-Peshtigo area may be submitted in advance of the listening sessions by phone (888-626-3244) or by email (DNRJCIPFAS@wisconsin.gov).

The DNR may host a public meeting at some point in the future to discuss options for long term water supply with affected residents. The DNR is holding off on scheduling this meeting until JCI submits an analysis of options, so that when we meet we are able to provide clear and complete information to the public.

Location: All listening sessions will be held at the Community REC Center, 2501 Pierce Ave., Marinette.

Listening Session Date Time(s) Information
Listening Session 1 Wednesday, September 18, 2019 6-7:30 p.m. Agenda
Presentation
Listening Session 2 Wednesday, October 16, 2019 6-7:30 p.m. Agenda
Listening Session 3 Wednesday, November 20, 2019 noon-1:30 p.m. and 6-7:30 p.m.  
Listening Session 4 Wednesday, December 18, 2019 6-7:30 p.m.  
Listening Session 5 Wednesday, January 15, 2020 noon-1:30 p.m. and 6-7:30 p.m.  
Listening Session 6 Wednesday, February 19, 2020 6-7:30 p.m.  

On this page

Information can be found below for the following locations where PFAS investigations will be or are being conducted in the Marinette and Peshtigo area, including:

  • JCI/Tyco Stanton St. Campus – 1 Stanton Street, Marinette
  • JCI/Tyco Fire Technology Center (FTC) – 2700 Industrial Parkway, Marinette
  • Chem Design Products, Inc. – 2 Stanton Street, Marinette
  • Land-spreading fields associated with PFAS-contaminated biosolids from the Marinette Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP)

The map below identifies these and other locations.

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.
View an enlarged version of the map.

Actions

Summary of recent DNR actions

Upcoming actions

  • July 2019: DNR will hire an environmental contractor to assist with sampling foam for PFAS identify a process for the public to identify potential foam concerns
  • Summer 2019: JCI/Tyco will conduct surface water and fish sampling
  • Summer 2019: DNR will conduct water quality sampling of fish and surface water
  • Summer 2019: JCI/Tyco will post signs near PFAS-impacted surface waters
  • At DNR's request, JCI/Tyco will expand its site investigation to include the fields where the city of Marinette biosolids were applied
For additional information, see Frequently Asked Questions.

Investigations

Investigations

Responsible parties (RPs) that cause a discharge of a hazardous substance or environmental pollution are required to report, investigate and clean up contamination. RPs are required to immediately notify the state of a discharge of a hazardous substance regardless of whether the discharge is confined to the property where the contamination occurred or has migrated to another property. The DNR follows the process outlined in NR 700, Wis. Adm. Code, to inform the RP of their requirements, which includes a recommendation to hire a qualified consultant to investigate and remediate contamination in compliance with relevant laws. RPs may also be required to conduct immediate or interim actions, such as providing bottled water or water filtration systems.

PFAS contamination sources in the Marinette and Peshtigo area

JCI/Tyco Stanton St. Campus – 1 Stanton Street, Marinette

This site totals 66 acres and is in north-northeastern Marinette, directly south of the Menominee River. JCI/Tyco operates a fire extinguisher and fire suppression system manufacturing facility at this location.

Latest actions

  • JCI/Tyco has halted sending AFFF foam to the Marinette and Peshtigo wastewater treatment plants due to high levels of PFAS in the biosolids.
  • At the DNR's request, both cities are storing their biosolids until an effective disposal method can be approved by the DNR.
  • JCI/Tyco continues to define the extent of groundwater, soil, sediment and surface water contamination associated with their operations.
JCI/Tyco Fire Technology Center (FTC) – 2700 Industrial Parkway, Marinette

The Fire Technology Center is a 380-acre property located on the southern edge of the city of Marinette. The facility conducted outdoor training with aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) from the 1960s until 2017.

Latest actions

  • JCI/Tyco has sampled 168 private wells in the city of Marinette and town of Peshtigo study area. 58 wells have tested positive for PFAS and 29 wells have levels exceeding the state Department of Health Services recommended groundwater quality standard of 20 ppt combined for PFOA and PFOS. The map below shows where private wells have been sampled; the legend identifies the value of sample results in accordance with EPA's Health Advisory Level (HAL) (i.e., yellow shows sample results above the HAL).
  • JCI/Tyco provided 37 properties with point of entry treatment (POET) drinking water systems. DNR is requiring that JCI/Tyco provide a long-term, protective solution for those citizens with impacted private wells.
  • JCI has submitted a draft interim action options report evaluating long-term solutions for contaminated private wells in the town of Peshtigo.

Map showing where private wells have been sampled.
Map showing where private wells have been sampled. The legend identifies the value of sample results in accordance with EPA's HAL (i.e., yellow shows sample results above the HAL). View an enlarged map.

Planned actions

  • JCI/Tyco is constructing two interim remedies to collect and treat contaminated surface water prior to it reaching Lake Michigan.
  • JCI/Tyco is expected to submit a plan to DNR in July to address controlling and treating the most highly contaminated groundwater, which is on the FTC site.
  • JCI/Tyco is continuing with their site investigation and evaluating whether additional private well and groundwater sampling may be needed.
Chem Design Products, Inc. – 2 Stanton Street, Marinette

The Chem Design Products facility is located in north-northeastern Marinette, directly south of the Menominee River.

Land-spreading fields associated with PFAS-contaminated biosolids from the Marinette Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP)
For additional information, see Frequently Asked Questions.

Drinking water

Drinking water sampling and analysis

PFAS was detected in potable drinking water wells sampled by JCI/Tyco as part of their site investigation. The table below shows a summary of all drinking water sample results completed through June 1, 2019.

PFAS Sampling Conducted by JCI/Tyco in the Marinette/Peshtigo Area through June 1, 2019
Type of Sample Media Number of Samples Collected 1 Number of Non-detects Number of Samples with Detects Greater than EPA HAL 2 Number of Samples with Detects Greater than DHS Recommended Groundwater Standard 3
Drinking Water (Potable Wells) 168 110 16 29
Groundwater 39 0 PFOA: ND to 254,000 ppt
PFOS: ND to 64,000 ppt
Shallow Groundwater 51 26 PFOA: ND to 1,140 ppt
PFOS: ND to 97.9 ppt
Surface Water 36 0 PFOA: ND to 6,000 ppt
PFOS: ND to 1,100 ppt
Sediment 18 3 PFOA: ND to 550 ppb
PFOS: ND to 100 ppb
Soil 39 0 PFOA: 0.97 to 1300 ppb
PFOS: ND to 380 ppb
1 PFAS Analytes Sampled: PFOS and PFOA
2 EPA HAL: 70 ppt
3 DHS Recommended Groundwater Standard: 20 ppt
ND = No Detect
ppb = parts per billion
ppt = parts per trillion

The table references the 70 ppt Health Advisory Level (HAL) issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the 20 ppt recommended groundwater standard issued by Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) on June 21, 2019.

The EPA HAL and the DHS recommended groundwater standards are for PFOA and PFOS levels combined. Both the EPA HAL and the recommended DHS groundwater standard are set at a level to protect people, including sensitive populations like people who are pregnant and babies, from any health effects associated with PFOA and PFOS exposures. The groundwater standard recommended by DHS is based on more recent scientific findings.

Interim drinking water sources

As PFAS was detected in drinking water supplies, JCI/Tyco has supplied affected community members with bottled water and/or water filtration systems as an interim action. The water filtrations systems are referred to as Point-of-Entry-Treatment (POET) systems.

Long-term drinking water options

As part of the overall site investigation process, JCI/Tyco has worked closely with their consultant to evaluate what types of long-term potable water solutions are available for community members in this area. JCI/Tyco has published a report documenting their evaluation process through May 2019.

The DNR will continue to work with JCI/Tyco, its consultants, the affected well owners and local units of government to ensure an appropriate long-term potable water supply solution is implemented.

City of Marinette public water supply

The city of Marinette voluntarily sampled their public drinking water supply. Results of sampling efforts can be viewed on the city of Marinette's website.

City of Peshtigo public water supply

The city of Peshtigo voluntarily sampled their public drinking water supply. Results of sampling efforts can be viewed on the city of Peshtigo's website.

Town of Peshtigo – well drilling notification

DNR issued a notice to well drillers requesting they contact DNR prior to drilling new water supply wells in the affected area. The purpose of this directive is to ensure well drillers and their customers have all the pertinent information needed to make decisions about well construction.

For additional information, see Frequently Asked Questions.

Wastewater/Biosolids

Wastewater and biosolids

PFAS can enter the wastewater stream through several sources (e.g., sanitary sewer discharges, consumer products) and has the potential to ultimately end up in the organic sludge generated as a byproduct of wastewater treatment known as "biosolids." JCI/Tyco historically discharged their fire-fighting foams from the Fire Technology Center into the city of Marinette's sanitary sewer as part of a permitted discharging entity. JCI/Tyco ceased discharging to the Marinette Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) in March 2019 in order to allow for an investigation of the potential impact of their discharges to overall WWTP processes and practices.

EPA image of biosolid spreading

Biosolids are commonly land-spread on agricultural fields. Source: EPA's Biosolids Recycling: Beneficial Technology for A Better Environment, June 1994.

Land application of biosolids is a common wastewater beneficial reuse method for disposing of biosolids as they can provide nutrients and organic matter for crop production. Once the city of Marinette learned of the PFAS contamination at the JCI/Tyco Fire Technology Center, they agreed to hold biosolids and refrain from permitting applicators to landspread biosolids until further direction.

City of Marinette

The city of Marinette has sampled for PFAS to determine the potential for PFAS contamination associated with WWTP plant processes including their influent, effluent, biosolids and at several points in the collection system. Sample results are available on the city of Marinette's PFOA and PFAS webpage under the "Wastewater Analysis" and "Biosolids Analysis" headings.

Because PFAS were detected in biosolids from the WWTP, the DNR asked the city of Marinette to hold biosolids rather than landspreading and is working with the city and JCI to determine an appropriate method of remediating the PFAS-contaminated biosolids.

The city of Marinette has an interactive map on their website that shows past locations where biosolids were spread.

City of Peshtigo

The city of Peshtigo began voluntarily holding their biosolids in 2019. The city utilized a similar process at their WWTP of separating the liquid portion of the waste stream and landspreading the remaining biosolids material on agricultural fields in and around the community. The city had their biosolids tested in May 2019. PFAS were detected in the biosolids and DNR has asked the city of Peshtigo to continue to withhold their biosolids from landspreading practices until further notice.

For additional information, see Frequently Asked Questions.

Surface water/Fish

Surface water

As PFAS have been detected in surface waters in the Marinette and Peshtigo area, DNR requested DHS to assess health risks associated with surface waters and foam. Specifically, DHS was asked to help develop language for signs that will be posted in these communities.

On June 21, 2019, DHS provided a letter to DNR [PDF] describing the health effects associated with exposure to PFAS via surface water and foam. In their letter, DHS noted that people can be exposed to PFAS during recreational activities in streams and ponds.

  • Accidental swallowing (ingestion) is the main source of PFAS exposure in water, especially in children as they swallow more water than adults during recreational activities.
  • Touching water (dermal contact) with PFAS contamination is a minor source of PFAS exposure; available information suggests that PFAS do not easily enter through the skin.

DHS's recommendation in their letter is as follows:

"To best protect people from potential PFAS exposure from surface water, DHS recommends people avoid drinking or accidentally swallowing the water or foam and wash their hands after wading or playing in the water."

DNR is working with JCI/Tyco to distribute public notification to homeowners along surface waters and to install signs at surface water access points throughout the communities. The following maps show ponds and drainage ditches that have been contaminated with PFAS.

Surface water and fish tissue sampling

DNR will begin an effort to sample streams and fish for PFAS in 2019. The paired collection of fish tissue and surface water chemistry will aid in development of a water quality standard for surface waters of the state. The sampling will be conducted in several study areas including the Menominee River near the city of Marinette. Sites have been selected throughout the state in order to characterize local conditions in a number of different locations.

For additional information, see Frequently Asked Questions.

Health

Health information and resources

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) is supporting DNR in assessing human health risks associated with the PFAS contamination in the Marinette and Peshtigo area, including providing recommendations to reduce those risks.

DHS has issued two letters to DNR describing PFAS exposure pathways, health concerns, and mechanisms to reduce PFAS exposure:

Learn more about health effects of various PFAS on the following websites.

For additional information, see Frequently Asked Questions.
Last revised: Wednesday October 09 2019