Read the full article by Chris Hubbuch (Wisconsin State Journal)
“Dane County says an experimental technology involving bacteria has been used to clean up toxic forever chemicals at the Madison airport, though county officials have not released any evidence.
The county and Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs issued a news release Tuesday claiming a nine-month pilot remediation project removed 97% of two fluorinated compounds from groundwater.
The chemicals, PFOA and PFOS, are found in firefighting foam used at military bases and airports and have been linked to cancer and other health problems.
County officials did not provide data to support the claim or say whether the treated water meets state or federal guidelines. Dane County Regional Airport spokesperson Michael Riechers said data would be released after it is presented to the state Department of Natural Resources, but did not say when that would happen.
But airport director Kimberly Jones said the pilot will be expanded to other parts of the airport, including one of two former training areas, known as ‘burn pits,’ that the DNR identified in 2018 as potential contaminated sites.
DNR officials did not respond to questions about the results or whether the county has been authorized to expand the project.
The project’s cost is also unclear.
According to the county, the test cleanup was done by Orin Technologies, of Verona, and a Canadian company known as Fixed Earth Innovations, which have formed a new joint venture called Onur Solutions.
The process, according to materials on Orin’s website, entails injecting a mix of chemicals and bacteria into the soil along with electrodes that generate oxygen. The idea is to trap PFAS so the microbes can break them down.
After 10 weeks at an unnamed “Midwest” airport, the company said, the total PFAS concentration in groundwater below a 1,600-square-foot area had been reduced by more than 96%.
But the company did not specify concentrations of individual chemicals, and the resulting PFAS concentrations were still thousands of times higher than what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says is safe for drinking water.” …