Johnson Controls pushes back on DNR order to test more wells for ‘forever chemicals’
By Laura Schulte | Milwaukee journal sentinel | June 8, 2020
Read the full article by Laura Schulte (Milwaukee journal sentinel)
“A Marinette-based company known for mixing and testing firefighting foams is once again under pressure from the state to test more drinking wells for ‘forever chemicals.’
Tyco Fire Protection Products, a subsidiary of Johnson Controls, was issued a letter of noncompliance by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources on May 27, after stating it would not test additional wells in the Marinette area for traces of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as PFAS.
PFAS are called ‘forever chemicals’ because of their difficulty to break down in the environment. The substances can repel both oil and water and have been used for decades in products like stain-resistant fabrics, nonstick cookware and firefighting foam.
Johnson Controls was directed by the DNR in February to submit an investigation schedule of the expanded testing area by March 2 or be deemed non-compliant, according to DNR documents.
The company did not submit a plan, and in a June 1 letter, a company official denied contamination in the additional wells to the south of its testing facility originated from its operations.
‘It is particularly disappointing that you have seemingly made no effort to identify the parties that are actually responsible for this contamination, despite the fact that there are clearly other parties who have contributed to the problem,’ wrote John Perkins, the vice president of global environmental, health and safety.
Perkins also states in the letter that the company has submitted the documents the DNR is seeking, as a part of other work plans, and that the company has shown the chemicals found in the expanded area are not the same makeup as the chemicals that originate at the facility.
The DNR does not agree with that response, though. In a second letter from May 27, hydrogeologist David Neste refutes the company’s claim. The letter states the company’s information may be incomplete, and needs to also include air transport evaluations, as well.
‘The degree and extent of contamination identified at the site has not been adequately characterized or documented,’ Neste said in the letter…”
This content provided by the PFAS Project.