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WisPAC and DNR Releases PFAS Action Plan to Guide State Response to the Chemicals


A group of nearly 20 agencies from across the state have spent more than a year developing the PFAS Action Plan.

This plan will act as a roadmap for dealing with PFAS in Wisconsin.

For those unfamiliar, PFAS are a group of human-made chemicals. You find them in things like non-stick cookware and firefighting foam.

The substance has been found in drinking water in Rhinelander and other places. It’s linked to higher cholesterol, thyroid issues, and cancer.

Fifty-two sites in Wisconsin have undergone PFAS testing.

“Including 11 closed still sites and 41 open environmental repair cases. This list continues to grow. The sampling so far confirms PFAS have impacted Wisconsin, but there’s a lot more work needed and hopefully this action plan with help pave the way for some of that future work,” said Jason Lowery with the DNR.

Credit Wisconsin DNR
The DNR coordinated the creation of a 91-page PFAS Action Plan for the state to use as a roadmap in its response to PFAS.

The plan includes 25 action items guided by four principals of environmental justice, health equity, innovation, and pollution prevention.

Some of the action items include establishing science-based PFAS standards for the environment, improving communication to the public through a new website and partnering with communities, and testing of all city and town drinking sources throughout the state.

DNR Environmental Management Division Administrator Darsi Foss said that will fall on the state to fund and process the testing.

“It is our recommendation to test all municipal systems for the 30-some PFAS compounds that our state lab now is now certifying labs for as well as if we see any non-municipal drinking water systems that we think could be at risk,” said Foss. “If we wait for the EPA it will be another two or three years before they’re UCMR system comes around to take those required federal PFAS samples again.”

Many of the action items in the plan are already being started or could start shortly.

Some items are dependent on lawmakers passing bills or require more research.

You can view the entire PFAS Action Plan Report on the DNR’s website.

Katie Thoresen is WXPR's News Director/Vice President.
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