Read the full article by Danielle Kaeding (WPR)

“State health officials have issued a water advisory for thousands of French Island residents due to concerns stemming from PFAS contamination of private drinking water wells. 

Several state agencies are making free bottled water available to as many as 4,300 residents who rely on 1,200 private wells, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The DNR is working with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), National Guard and Wisconsin Emergency Management to provide water supplies to residents. The advisory is expected to remain in place for at least the next 90 days. 

The DNR said Thursday that 185 private wells sampled by the agency and residents show PFAS concentrations in all but one deep water well. Around one-third of those samples — 61 wells — had PFAS levels exceeding the state’s recommended groundwater standard of 20 parts per trillion.

‘DNR and DHS will continue to work with the residents of French Island, the town, city and county officials to aid them in providing emergency safe drinking water to address these concerns, and to ultimately identify the sources of PFAS on the island and to take actions to provide permanent water and the cleanup of soil and groundwater contamination,’ said Darsi Foss, administrator of the DNR’s environmental management division. 

The city of La Crosse is part of an ongoing investigation into PFAS contamination on the island stemming from the La Crosse Regional Airport. The DNR launched the investigation last year after the DNR flagged two city wells for the presence of PFAS, which have since been taken out of service…”