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Rib Mountain shuts off well over PFAS concern

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The town of Rib Mountain in Marathon County has shut down one of its wells over PFAS concerns.

The Sanitary District was conducting voluntary testing of its wells.

One came back with levels above what the Wisconsin DNR considers safe. Three other wells tested positive for low levels of PFAS.

Mike Heyroth, the director of the sanitary district, says at this time there is no reason for alarm.

“Rib Mountain residents and businesses can safely continue to use and drink from the water supply as normal,” he says. “Upon receiving the test results, the Sanitary District immediately shut off well number one.”

The water in the other wells is safe to drink and use.

Officials with the Marathon County Health Department and the Sanitary district say they aren't aware of any health issues in customers because of the elevated test results.

PFAS are a group of man-made chemicals that have been linked to serious health risks including cancer.

Heyroth says they will continue testing at the other wells which remain online.

“Now, we’re actually doing enhanced sampling, so we will know very quickly if we have any other detections or any other elevated levels in any of our other wells,” he says.

Heyroth says they are doing research to find out where the chemicals originated and how they got into the well.

DHS officials confirmed the town is cooperating in the investigation into the PFAS.

Rhinelander shutdown two of its wells in 2019 due to PFAS levels.

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