Read the full article by Todd Richmond (StarTribune)
“MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin Republicans were poised Tuesday to pass a bill that would impose new restrictions on the use of firefighting foam containing chemicals known as PFAS in the hopes of reducing soil and water contamination, despite Democrats’ complaints that the proposal would do next to nothing…
The governor has made improving water quality a priority, though; he signed an executive order in August directing the Department of Natural Resources to develop regulatory limits on PFAS. The Department of Natural Resources board is set to vote Wednesday on whether to authorize the department to begin drafting those standards.
Democrats railed on the Senate floor that the foam restrictions would accomplish next to nothing. They tried to persuade Republicans to amend the bill to direct the DNR to develop regulatory standards for PFAS, even though the department is on the verge of starting that process…
Tyco Fire Products discovered in 2013 that soil and well contamination on its Marinette fire training property contained PFAS and four years later acknowledged that the chemicals had spread beyond the facility. The company began distributing bottled water to residents whose wells may have been contaminated.
Traces of PFAS also have been found in a number of wells in Madison. State health officials recently warned people to limit consumption of fish from Madison’s Lake Monona due to PFAS contamination. The state Department of Natural Resources hasn’t identified the source, but firefighters have trained with foam for years at the Dane County Regional Airport.
Under the bill, the use of firefighting foam containing intentionally added PFAS would generally be prohibited except in emergency fire situations. Firefighters would have to train with foam or other substances that don’t contain the chemicals. Foam containing PFAS could be used in testing as long as the testing facility has implemented DNR-approved containment and disposal measures to prevent releases into the environment.
Violators would face forfeitures of up to $5,000 per incident.”