More wells in Marinette County test positive for elevated levels of PFAS

This shows the number of wells that have been tested near fields that have been sprayed...
This shows the number of wells that have been tested near fields that have been sprayed biosolids near Peshtigo.(WBAY)
Published: Apr. 15, 2020 at 10:32 PM CDT
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The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources gave its first virtual update on PFAS contamination in the Marinette and Peshtigo area on Wednesday.

As we’ve been reporting, the DNR has linked PFAS contamination to Johnson Controls' Tyco Fire Products. The company manufactures firefighting foam in Marinette.

PFAS are a group of man-made chemicals used in numerous products from fire-fighting foam to non-stick cookware.

The DNR says over the last week seven wells tested positive for elevated levels of PFAS.

According to a department news release, three of those homeowners impacted have been provided drinking water by the company.

The wells are located in farm fields near Peshtigo.

The fields have been spread with biosolids, often used as a fertilizer.

Biosolids used in the fields were known to contain the toxic chemicals.

One of the wells tested had a significantly higher concentration of PFAS with 1,157 parts per trillion (ppt). Three other wells tested above 70 ppt and another three wells measured just above 20 ppt.

The Department of Health Services recommends water with a standard of 20 ppt or less to be safe to use.

Right now, there are no concentration standards for the amount of PFAS in biosolids.

We've learned Johnson Controls is still conducting tests in the fields and to wells near Peshtigo and continues to update the DNR.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, parties who are doing testing can apply for a variance to extend deadlines to report test results.

Johnson Controls has applied for a variance, but it has not yet been approved by the DNR.

The DNR says they've also collected 20 deer in the impacted area to be tested for PFAS levels. Samples have been sent to the state lab for Hygiene.

This spring, Johnson Controls also plans to test fish in three private fishing ponds.

Sampling of PFAS levels in the bay of Green Bay is also expected to be done this summer.

Exposure to high levels has been linked to health problems such as cancer and thyroid disease.