Weston Shuts Down Two Water Wells Due to PFAS
WESTON, WI (WSAU) — The Village of Weston is the latest area to announce they’ve shut down some municipal wells due to elevated levels of PFAS.
Leaders turned off Wells 3 and 4 last week after voluntary testing showed elevated levels in both. Shutting down those wells has brought the Villages PFAS numbers down to below 20 Parts Per Trillion mark, which is below the proposed standards endorsed by the state’s Department of Health Services but rejected by the Natural Resources Board earlier this year.
Both Village leaders and the DNR say the action has led to safer drinking water for residents. Customers should feel free to use their water for cooking and drinking as normal.
“The Village of Weston looked for it, they found it, and they eliminated those sources of water that had levels of PFAS over the recommended levels,” said Kyle Burton with the Wisconsin DNR. “[They] are now serving water to their customers that is below those levels. If any of those conditions change, there will be another communication.”
Village Administrator Keith Donner says taking those wells offline was the best short-term solution for the issue. They are also looking at at least two long-term solutions like upgrades at their drinking water treatment plant to filter out the chemicals. But it could be a while before they can acquire that equipment. “We understand that some of the equipment that is used in this type of treatment has somewhere in the range of a 3.5 year lead time to it,” said Donner.
Donner says the Village has also been scouting for two new well sites. If they can bring those online, it could eliminate the need for Wells 3 and 4.
TRENDING IN CENTRAL WISCONSIN
Weston becomes the 4th water system in the area to discover PFAS in its drinking water supply after Rib Mountain, Rothschild, and Wausau. Burton says the DNR is taking note of that trend but hasn’t launched a full-scale investigation.
“There may be a reason to look bigger-picture here,” said Burton. “To see if and how these situations could be connected. It is something that we are certainly thinking about.”
DNR staff is also reviewing the area around the contaminated wells. That includes a look at past contamination events and if they could have led to PFAS leaking into the wells.
Wausau discovered the chemicals in all six of their wells and has issued a drinking water advisory. Bottled water is available to customers that want it, and the city is ordering filters and pitchers designed to remove the chemicals. Those will be available for residents as they are received.
Rib Mountain and Rothschild have also shut down wells to get under the 20 PPT mark.