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

“The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources can test wastewater for so-called forever chemicals known as PFAS, but a Jefferson County judge ruled Monday that the agency can’t pursue enforcement until water quality standards are in place.

Jefferson County Judge William Hue issued the 45-page written decision that sided in part with Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce.

The state’s largest business lobby sued the Wisconsin DNR in March last year, claiming the agency unlawfully sought to sample wastewater released from industrial and municipal facilities. The business group argued the agency lacked explicit authority to conduct testing at facilities that operate under wastewater discharge permits.

Hue ruled that the DNR does have authority to enter permitted facilities and test them for PFAS under Wisconsin law and the Clean Water Act.

…The case is one of two that WMC has brought against the DNR, challenging the agency’s authority to regulate PFAS. WMC also sued the DNR over its authority to require businesses to clean up PFAS contamination. The business group has asked a court to bar the DNR from regulating emerging contaminants like PFAS unless they go through the state’s rulemaking process. A Waukesha County judge is expected to issue a ruling in that case in April.

…The DNR has been crafting standards for surface water, groundwater and drinking water for PFAS. The agency’s proposed standards are expected to go before the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board next month. The limits also require approval from the Republican-controlled Legislature, which has weakened or eliminated Evers administration proposals that seek to address the chemicals.”…