Read the full article by Laura Schulte (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

“The Wisconsin Department of Justice Monday morning filed a lawsuit against a prominent producer of firefighting foam containing ‘forever chemicals,’ saying the company violated state laws by releasing the chemicals into the environment in Marinette and Peshtigo. 

Tyco Fire Products knowingly violated the state spills law when it failed for years to notify the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources about the discharges of toxic PFAS, and failed to take action to clean up the contamination, Attorney General Josh Kaul said in announcing the lawsuit in Green Bay. 

‘When companies contaminate our water, they must fully remediate the harm they’ve caused. Every Wisconsinite should be able to rely on the safety of the water they drink,’ Kaul said. ‘The Wisconsin Department of Justice is committed to protecting the public and holding accountable those who endanger the health of Wisconsinites.’

Kaul said over the course of his investigation he heard from residents in Marinette and Peshtigo about their worries about the safety of their water, the inability to sell their homes and the potential impact to the local economy. 

‘That is why it is so critical that type of harm doesn’t take place in the first place, and if it does occur we take action to hold those accountable responsible,’ Kaul said at the news conference. 

…PFAS have been found across the state in cities like La Crosse, Marinette, Peshtigo, Milwaukee, Madison, Wausau, Rib Mountain and Eau Claire. 

As a part of the lawsuit, Kaul is seeking repayment for the funds spent by the DNR for providing bottled water and conducting additional sampling when Tyco refused to expand its sampling area in order to find the extent of contamination surrounding its facility. 

Tyco, a subsidiary of Johnson Controls, tested fire fighting foam containing PFAS outdoors from 1962 until ending the practice in 2017. The foam ended up on the soil surrounding the company’s fire training center, as well as in the Marinette sewer system when the foam was washed into drains. 

Tyco, formerly known as the Ansul Company, was purchased by Johnson Controls in 2016. Kathleen Cantillion, the director of environmental communications for Johnson Controls, said  in an email that the company will ‘vigorously defend the lawsuit,’ and that they stand behind the years of work invested in investigating and remediating the contamination stemming from the Tyco facility. 

‘We continue to build on the progress we have made to address these issues in our community, including offering bottled water and in-home filtration systems several years ago to all households in the Town of Peshtigo whose private wells were potentially impacted by PFAS from the Fire Training Center,’ she said. 

According to the complaint, the testing resulted in a plume of contamination around the Tyco property, of which the extent is unknown because of a lack of investigation from the company.”…