A look at groundwater regulations in Wisconsin

PESHTIGO, Wis. (WBAY) - A day after a meeting in the Town of Peshtigo laid out options for people dealing with contaminated water Action 2 News is examining the regulations for the compound discovered there. This as the company Tyco continues to test private wells for contamination caused by a fire-retardant foam it no longer makes.

As we reported Tuesday night, of the 82 wells tested by Tyco Fire Products, 8 came back positive for levels of compounds higher than EPA standards posing health risks for those families who are drinking bottled water in the short term. The compounds PFO and PFOA found in the water are used in a number of products, including firefighting foam.

“There's currently no drinking water groundwater standard for PFO and PFOA, again the Spills Law does give us the authority to make them clean up this hazardous substance because it's in groundwater where it shouldn't be and we know it causes health impacts,” said Steve Elmore, Bureau of Drinking Water and Groundwater with Wisconsin DNR.

Wisconsin doesn't have its own standard for those compounds but to compare other states with their own standards like Minnesota considers 30 parts per trillion to be a chronic health risk. Wisconsin follows federal mandate, considering 70 parts per trillion to be a health risk.

This is frustrating for some lawmakers who want to see stronger regulations now.

"We're concerned that petitions sent to the DNR to set stronger standards are not being acted on by the department, and I think we have to continue to put pressure on them, and that's what our future is, to make sure the DNR, DHS, takes this issue seriously and make sure that standard does protect the water that people are drinking,” said Senator Dave Hansen (D – District 30).

The DNR says it's working to add these specific contaminants to groundwater quality standards.