MARINETTE COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - A clearer picture of water contamination in Marinette County is taking shape. As we first reported last week, Tyco Fire Protection Products is testing private wells in the town of Peshtigo near its facility for a compound contained in fire-fighting foam.
At a public meeting today with the Marinette County Board on Tuesday, Tyco announced and updated its numbers by saying nine private wells sampled above federal limits for PFOs and PFOAs. Seventeen wells have amounts of the compound below EPA limits and 66 now tested to have none of the contaminants.
Tuesday morning was a chance for Tyco, the DNR, and state health officials to appear before the Marinette County Board. People called on members to get more involved in the water contamination investigation. County Board Chairman Mark Anderson said the best it can do is keep tabs on Tyco's investigation. He said the rest is up to the state.
“We've had that discussion internally at the courthouse, in regards to what the county's role is by state statute it actually falls with the Department of Natural Resources, in the industrial contamination site, but that doesn't change the fact that we should be watching to make sure that they are being forthcoming and they are working for the best interest of citizens of Marinette County” said Anderson.
The county board asked officials how long this compound could stay in the groundwater and the answer didn't sit well with some people.
"The problem is, that this compound never breaks down, it's going to persist and bio-accumulate, for longer than we're here on this planet, so how do we remediate that and whose going to pay for that and how much is it going to cost,” said Brenda Staudemmaier, who grew up in Peshtigo.
Republican Representative John Nygren of Marinette agrees with Democratic State Senator Dave Hansen that this issue must be a top priority.
“What I'm hearing so far is I am hearing Tyco is being responsive, but it's obviously not something that can’t be washed away right away, it's going to be an ongoing conversation we're going to have to take very seriously,” said Nygren.