PFAS

Ben Meyer/WXPR

The DNR admitted putting new rules on PFAS in groundwater, drinking water, and surface water will have a “significant” economic impact on the state.

DNR staff also listened to the public, environmentalists, and industry groups at a hearing over a proposed PFAS regulation scope statement last week.

Wisconsin is in the early steps of regulating PFAS, a family of chemicals with health hazards.

Ben Meyer/WXPR

Despite ongoing concerns about city drinking water, Rhinelander’s Common Council adopted a

Ben Meyer/WXPR

Note: This story has been updated from its original version with information about PFHxS studies in animals and humans.             

This summer, tests showed Rhinelander’s Municipal Well 7 was contaminated with PFAS chemicals.

However, the most recent tests show no detection of the two main chemicals in the PFAS family, PFOA and PFOS.  Even so, that well remains offline, and is not contributing to the city’s drinking water supply.

The latest testing on Rhinelander’s Municipal Well 7 showed no detection of the two best-known per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) chemicals.

In June, the city shut off Well 7 after the combined PFOA and PFOS levels exceeded both federal and state recommendations for the compounds, which have been linked to health problems.

Since then, the city has been drawing drinking water for residents from its other active wells.

Wisconsin DNR

Levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in foam samples on the Peshtigo River spiked well above what may be safe, the DNR announced this week.

The samples were collected below the dam in Peshtigo and in a nearby roadside ditch.

Just below the dam, the PFOA level in the foam was 230 parts per trillion (ppt), and the PFOS level was about 17,000 ppt.

PFOA and PFOS are the two best-known PFAS chemicals.  PFAS has been linked to health issues.

Michigan.gov

Wisconsin’s neighbor will soon become one of a few states with enforceable PFAS regulations on the books.

Michigan could have strict standards by next April, after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer endorsed a plan from the state’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE).

They could be enacted by next April.

“We can no longer wait for the federal government to act,” said Whitmer in a statement.

The DNR hoped to get dozens of municipal wastewater treatment plants in the state to test for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) compounds in their water.

But when the DNR’s 90-day window closed this week, just two had responded with test results for the water contaminant.

That may be due, in part, to contradictory guidance from another group.

PFAS, a group of manmade compounds, may be linked to health risks.

Ben Meyer/WXPR

Three Wisconsin agencies want to know how PFAS compounds move and change as they work their way through water treatment systems.

The DNR, State Lab of Hygiene, and UW-Madison plan to kick off a study this fall.

DNR Wastewater Section Chief Jason Knutson said scientists plan to work with a dozen wastewater treatment plants in the state.  They want to learn if most PFAS compounds stick with solids or liquids when treated.

tonyevers.com

When Gov. Tony Evers took office in January, he could have put his priorities in a lot of different places.

But he chose to put a large amount of political muscle into improving drinking water in Wisconsin.

Just 15 days after he was inaugurated in January, he proclaimed 2019 the "Year of Clean Drinking Water” for the state.

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.

Ben Meyer/WXPR

Ron Wiedeman’s ancestors came here around 1900, as best as he can tell.

It’s a swath of land along the Wisconsin River in the Town of Crescent, just southwest of Rhinelander.

“I’ve lived in this area my whole life,” said Wiedeman, sitting at his kitchen table.

When he was a kid, the spring now known as Crescent Spring was on his family’s property.

“Just clean, fresh water, always clean, and good tasting water,” Wiedeman said.  “I’ve [drunken] out of there since I was probably eight years old.”

“Forever Chemicals” a Growing Health Threat in NE Wisconsin

Sep 10, 2019
Pixabay.com

MARINETTE, Wis. - The discovery of chemicals linked to cancer, hypertension and other health problems in groundwater has scientists and people living near Marinette calling for more testing.

PFAS, often referred to as "forever chemicals," have been found in the groundwater near a Tyco Fire Products plant. So far in 2019, scientists have tested 130 private wells in northeastern Wisconsin. They found elevated PFAS levels in 11 wells, and detected the chemicals in 26 others.

Mackenzie Martin WXPR

Following the discovery of chemicals commonly called PFA's in Rhinelander water and the shutdown of well #7, new tests have shown less of the chemical at that well.

City Administrator Daniel Guild updated the common council Monday. The city had the water system tested this summer and Guild had the results.

 "I'm also please to report that the latest testing of water in well #7 is well below the 70 parts per trillion recommendation from the U.S. EPA and also substantially below the 20 parts per trillion recommendation by the State of Wisconsin."

Mackenzie Martin / WXPR

The Crescent Town Spring located at 3171 S River Road is no longer a recommended source of drinking water, according to a press release from the Oneida County Health Department Monday. Many locals have gotten their drinking water from the spring for decades.