“Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources is taking steps to determine safe levels of two toxic chemicals found in groundwater.

The new safety standards, which would establish a specific threshold for how much of the contaminants are safe to drink, come as the two toxic compounds polluted at least 11 residential wells in Marinette from activity at the Tyco Fire Protection Products testing ground…

The DNR’s latest round of standards for groundwater chemicals is both a standard agency practice and a response to several citizen petitions, including the residents in Marinette and the group Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger. The chemicals have also been found at the former Badger Army site near Baraboo, where the Army manufactured rocket propellant for several wars starting with World War II. The Army disposed of its production waste by burning it in open pits for years.

Laura Olah, executive director for CSWAB, said she is encouraged by the DNR’s move to create safety standards and hopes there is more testing for the chemicals at Badger, where the Army is still doing cleanup and well testing

It could take several years for the DNR to create official rules. It has requested a toxicology report from the state Department of Health Services to evaluate the toxicity levels of the chemicals, which could take at least a year. After that, the DNR will review the report and make recommendations for specific standards to be enacted.

Though the health effects of ingesting PFOA and PFOS are still being researched, scientists agree that they remain in the body after chronic exposure and can be harmful. Large doses caused cancer and damaged development, reproduction and the liver in lab animals, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Although the EPA has safety standards for the chemicals, states nationwide are beginning to create their own, more stringent ones. Michigan and Minnesota both created their own standards after discovering that the chemicals polluted residential groundwater wells…

Marinette residents whose wells have been polluted are organizing a formal group to monitor the company’s progress and may file a civil suit against Tyco, said Jeff Lamont, a Marinette homeowner who is spearheading the initiative.  The group, which had its first meeting on Tuesday, has about 35 people on its email list, Lamont said.”

Read the full article by Katelyn Ferral.

Read more about PFAS contamination in Wisconsin.