Read the full article by Henry Redman (The Wisconsin Examiner)

… “In 2019, Starkweather Creek was one of the most polluted waterways in Wisconsin. Tests showed it contained higher levels of PFOA and PFOS, two common types of PFAS, than any other waters the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) tested that year. Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officially designated PFOA and PFOS as ‘hazardous substances.’ 

PFAS, short for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, can come from non-stick cookware, food packaging and — most relevant to the creek — foam used to fight fires. PFAS don’t break down in the environment or the body and can cause a number of health problems.

The creek flows near the Dane County Regional Airport and Truax Field Air National Guard Base, where PFAS-containing firefighting foams have been used for years. When the water was tested in 2019, after decades of the foam being used to put out fires on the runways, the DNR detected levels of PFOS at 270 parts per trillion and PFOA at 43 ppt at the creek’s crossing with Fair Oaks Avenue. 

Earlier this summer, the EPA released new guidelines for the amount of PFOS or PFOA that can be present in drinking water before it is unsafe to consume, setting the limit at 0.02 ppt for PFOS and 0.004 ppt for PFOA. That means the amount of PFOS in Starkweather Creek is 13,500 times greater than what is considered safe and the amount of PFOA is more than 10,000 times greater. 

‘The PFAS is underground, slowly leaching out into the groundwater all the time,’ says Lance Green, co-chair of the Friends of Starkweather Creek. ‘It’s a continual source of pollution to the creek, every day, every hour, for decades now. It’s at thousands of parts per trillion by the airport, it’s at hundreds in the creek. People are eating the fish every day from Lake Monona. It’s an environmental justice issue that Madison is not recognizing.'” …