Read the full article by Henry Redman (Wisconsin Examiner)

“An environmental group has filed a petition with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), asking the department to establish rules and standards guiding the maximum amount of PFAS allowed in the state’s groundwater. 

PFAS, a family of man-made chemicals that are known to cause cancer and other negative health effects commonly present in firefighting foams and household goods such as nonstick pans, have been found in water supplies across the state. PFAS are known as ‘forever chemicals‘ because they do not degrade in the environment or the body. 

The regulation of the chemicals has become controversial, with the state’s largest business lobby recently successfully suing to prevent the DNR from holding companies responsible for PFAS contamination under the state’s decades old Spills Law. 

Earlier this year, the state’s Natural Resources Board (NRB) approved standards for the amount of PFAS allowed in drinking and surface water, but could not come to an agreement on standards for groundwater — citing a difference in what the state’s Department of Health Services (DHS) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said was a safe amount. DHS had said the limit for two compounds under the PFAS family — PFOS and PFOA — should be 20 parts per trillion but the EPA’s standards said 70 parts per million. 

The inability to reach consensus on the groundwater standards is part of an ongoing controversy at the NRB involving Republican-appointee Frederick Prehn, who has refused to leave his seat on the board even though his term expired last May. Last week, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that he is legally allowed to remain in the post until his replacement is confirmed by the Republican-held state Senate. 

Last month, the EPA updated its standards for the two chemicals to 0.004 ppt and 0.02 ppt, respectively. 

On Friday, Midwest Environmental Advocates, on behalf of water quality organization S.O.H20 and the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, filed a petition with the DNR to institute groundwater standards now that the EPA’s health advisory is much lower than the initial DHS suggestion.” …