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DNR Leaders Tell NRB PFA's Can Be Controlled With Current Rules

Pixabay.com Baudolino

State experts on the chemicals known as PFA's that have been found in groundwater supplies in Rhinelander and Marinette and elsewhere say current laws will help cleanup contaminated water.

DNR Environmental Management Deputy Division Administrator Jim Zellmer says the chemicals have been widely used. He says the coating on paper around hamburger keeps the grease from being absorbed through the paper. It also was used in dozens of other applications including firefighting foam.

Zellmer says some recent large fires have used the effective foam to put out tough fires, but the water was contained, limiting the discharge in the environment.

He says they're checking with fire departments across the state...

"With those firefighting foams, we're in the process of surveying our fire departments around the state. If it's similar to what they found in Michigan they found approximately 40 thousand pounds of these firefighting foams that were held in inventory. Maybe donated by another entity, maybe purchased over the years and held in storage...."

Assistant Deputy Secretary Todd Ambs says Wisconsin has laws in place to deal with this latest chemical groundwater contaminant...

"....We know how to do this. We've done this difficult chemical compounds 138 times since 1983. This law is still pointed to as a model for the nation. It has broad bipartisan support. We use this law for mercury, for PCB's, for benzene, for ammonia..."

Zellmer and Ambs updated the state Natural Resources Board this week.

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