Read the full press release (Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources)

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources today announced the release of a statewide PFAS Action Plan created to address growing public health and environmental concerns regarding PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) in Wisconsin.   

The PFAS Action Plan was developed by the Wisconsin PFAS Action Council (WisPAC), a group of nearly 20 state agencies and the University of Wisconsin System. As part of the statewide initiative to ensure Wisconsinites have access to clean, safe drinking water, Gov. Tony Evers signed Executive Order #40 in August 2019 to address the issue of PFAS across the state.

Executive Order #40 also directed the DNR to lead a group of state agencies to build an action plan to serve as a blueprint for how Wisconsin can address the use of and contamination from these forever chemicals.

‘The DNR is proud to lead the effort toward addressing environmental contamination by PFAS in Wisconsin,’ said DNR Secretary Preston D. Cole. ‘We look forward to continuing to work with other state agencies, the university system and Wisconsin communities to put forth and implement solutions that will protect the public and support our businesses.’

PFAS are a group of human-made chemicals used for decades in numerous products including non-stick cookware, fast food wrappers, stain-resistant sprays and certain types of firefighting foam. These contaminants have made their way into the environment through spills of PFAS-containing materials, discharges of PFAS-containing wastewater to treatment plants and certain types of firefighting foams.

PFAS do not break down in the environment and have been discovered at concentrations of concern in groundwater, surface water and drinking water. They are also known to bioaccumulate in fish and wildlife tissues and accumulate in the human body, posing several risks to human health. At present, Wisconsin monitors nearly 50 sites across the state for PFAS contamination.

‘A number of PFAS compounds are known to pose a risk to human health,’ said Mark Werner, director of the Bureau of Environmental and Occupational Health at the Department of Health Services. ‘We are proud to partner with the other WisPAC agencies in taking concrete steps toward reducing PFAS exposure in our communities and protecting the people of Wisconsin.’

The PFAS Action Plan was designed as a blueprint to guide the state in its efforts to address PFAS contamination. The plan includes priority action items identified through input from state agencies, a citizen and a local government advisory group, and the public. Each item contains an overview of what would be required to bring it to fruition, including budgetary, legislative and staffing needs. Action items are categorized into eight themes: standard setting, sampling, pollution prevention, education and communication, research and knowledge, phase-out, future investments and historic discharges…”