PFAS

Ben Meyer/WXPR

Wisconsin landfills are concerned they’re taking the blame for PFAS contamination.

But a new coalition of solid waste professionals points out landfills and recycling centers don’t produce the chemicals, they only receive them from other sources.

Ben Meyer/WXPR

Rhinelander Mayor Chris Frederickson says he tried to get the state to provide clear direction on rising levels of a PFAS compound in a city well, but got nothing.

Instead, Frederickson himself ordered the well shut down last Friday.

Well 8 became the second Rhinelander city water well shut down due to PFAS concerns, joining Well 7.  Various types of compounds in the PFAS family have been linked to health risks.

Ben Meyer/WXPR

Rhinelander Mayor Chris Frederickson ordered a second city water well shut down Friday as levels of a PFAS-family chemical continued to rise.

Earlier this month, WXPR reported Well 8 was still providing water to the city as concentrations of PFHxS continued upward.

On Friday, Frederickson said those levels caused him to order the shutoff.

Ben Meyer/WXPR

Note: this story has been updated to include comments from the DNR's Kyle Burton in a Tuesday interview.  Rhinelander City Administrator Daniel Guild has been invited to comment.

In a letter to Rhinelander City Administrator Daniel Guild on Tuesday, the Wisconsin DNR said it had “no reason to question the accuracy” of tests showing high levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in a city water well.

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.

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