Groundwater council calls for action on PFAS; nitrate remains top contaminant
By Chris Hubbuch | Wisconsin State Journal | September 2, 2020
Read the full article by Chris Hubbuch (Wisconsin State Journal)
“Wisconsin’s groundwater advisory board is calling for action to address hazardous chemicals known as PFAS and other contaminants found in a growing number of drinking water supplies.
The Wisconsin Groundwater Coordinating Council’s annual report to the Legislature recommends establishing groundwater enforcement standards and continuing to identify sources of the largely indestructible compounds, which have been linked to cancer and other illnesses.
Testing in recent years has revealed PFAS compounds in public water systems in La Crosse, West Bend, Rhinelander, Marinette and Madison, where they were recently found at some level in every well. PFAS have also turned up in groundwater near military bases, including Madison’s Truax Field, and industrial sites in Marinette, Manitowoc and Chilton.
Used for decades in firefighting foam and consumer products, PFAS are likely present at fire stations, factories and landfills and have been found in sewage. According to the report, there are concerns that PFAS are leaching into groundwater when sludge from sewage treatment plants is used as farm fertilizer.
While past reports have addressed PFAS, this is the first to call for direct action.
‘It’s been in there in the past as part of emerging contaminants,’ said Bruce Rheineck, groundwater section chief for the Department of Natural Resources. ‘The feeling was PFAS have definitely emerged. They are an issue.’
The council recommends the state implement groundwater enforcement standards for two compounds — PFOA and PFOS — as advised by the Department of Health Services, which last year recommended one of the nation’s most restrictive standards.
The Department of Natural Resources last year began a 2.5-year process to develop PFAS standards for ground, surface and drinking water.
The report also suggests developing benchmarks for PFAS in surface water, sludge and other materials to protect groundwater…”
This content provided by the PFAS Project.