Read the full article by Danielle Kaeding (Wisconsin Public Radio)

“Wisconsin environmental regulators have signed off on Tyco Fire Products’ plans to treat PFAS contamination in groundwater stemming from its fire training facility in Marinette. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources warns the system will reduce, but not eliminate, the so-called forever chemicals in groundwater and surface water over the next 30 years. 

The contamination is linked to Tyco’s use of firefighting foam that contains perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The Marinette manufacturer conducted testing and training with firefighting foam that contains PFAS at its 380-acre facility from the early 1960s through 2017. Town of Peshtigoresidents who live in an area that includes roughly 270 households are receiving a $17.5 million settlement from Tyco after being exposed to the chemicals, which have contaminated private wells.

Tyco, which is part of Johnson Controls International, submitted a 2,400-page design for the groundwater extraction and treatment systemin February. The system includes a series of nine wells that will be installed to pump contaminated groundwater into pipes that will deliver it to a treatment system on the property.

The company aims to build the treatment system and get it up and running by the end of the year. The system will not clean up pollution throughout the entire area or address the contaminated wells in the town of Peshtigo. The DNR is also requiring Tyco to obtain permits and submit plans for monitoring, operation and maintenance as conditions for approval.

‘The DNR thanks JCI/Tyco for its plans to implement an interim action that is designed to remove per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) mass from the environment and reduce further spread PFAS from the site,’ the agency wrote in a May 18 letter.

The system is designed to address the highest concentrations of PFAS beneath Tyco’s facility and east of its property where levels greater than 10,000 parts per trillion and as high as 72,000 parts per trillion have been found. It’s not expected to bring levels in line with the state’s proposed groundwater standard of 20 parts per trillion for six PFAS substances, including PFOA and PFOS — the two most commonly studied PFAS chemicals.

The system will include proven treatment technologies that include granular activated carbon to remove PFAS from groundwater before it’s discharged into a nearby ditch that runs through the city of Marinette into Green Bay. Discharges will be monitored and regulated by the DNRunder a wastewater permit…”