Read the full article by Danielle Kaeding (The Daily News)
“MADISON, Wis. — Supporters of legislation that would address contamination from chemicals known as PFAS say they would protect the environment and public health. But opponents say the bills would create costly requirements for industry and local governments that would have to comply.
The chemicals, which are found in many everyday products, don’t break down easily in the environment and are associated with harmful health effects.
Northeastern Wisconsin lawmakers have introduced two bills that would require the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to create and enforce standards for perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS. The bills would also provide funding for PFAS programs and positions, $5 million biennially for grants to local governments, free blood testing and a cancer cluster study of individuals living near PFAS contamination in the Marinette area…
One proposal would allow the DNR to create an emergency rule that would set groundwater standards for PFOA and PFOS — two of the most widely studied PFAS chemicals. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has previously recommended a groundwater standard of 20 parts per trillion for the two compounds.
Darsi Foss, the DNR’s environmental management division administrator, said groundwater standards for PFAS are the most needed in the near future.
‘In particular to help the people in the Town of Peshtigo where we have about 50 or 60 wells impacted by the Johnson Controls site,‘ Foss said. ‘This would help us determine when we ask the responsible party — Johnson Controls — to extend or provide permanent safe water. That groundwater standard, if in effect, would help us say who gets hooked up in that community.‘
Johnson Controls International is the parent company of Tyco Fire Products, which has been dealing with PFAS contamination that has spread from its fire training facility in Marinette.
Others voiced concern about the creation of enforcement standards for PFAS, including the Wisconsin League of Municipalities and Municipal Environmental Group. Curt Witynski, the league’s deputy director said the
American Water Works Association found that treatment costs would increase exponentially for public water and wastewater systems if they were forced to meet the state’s recommended standard as opposed to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s advisory level of 70 parts per trillion…
A representative of the state’s largest trade association agreed. Scott Manley with Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce spoke out against the bill’s provision to create an emergency rule that would set groundwater standards for PFAS, saying it would circumvent the process and limit public input…”