State progress report details efforts to test for PFAS across Wisconsin

The report contains 8 areas where the state has taken action to address the issue of PFAS, but it does not include a timeline of when impacted areas will have clean water.

TOWN OF CAMPBELL, Wis. (WKBT) — This week, the Wisconsin PFAS Action Council released its August 2022 progress report.

The report contains 8 areas where the state has taken action to respond to the issue of PFAS contamination.

The state has created a “voluntary municipal drinking water system sampling program, in which more than 125 systems participated,” according to the report.

The report adds that the state has also collected and analyzed more than 100 wastewater samples as part of its efforts to test for PFAS.

The state is also in the process of sampling 450 private wells to assess the presence of PFAS in groundwater across Wisconsin.

According to Steve Elmore, a program director with the bureau of drinking and groundwater at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the process of testing wells is ongoing statewide.

In the town of Campbell on French Island, hundreds of wells are contaminated with PFAS.

For more than a year and a half, residents of Campbell have not been able to drink the water because of contamination from the chemicals.

In February, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Board voted 6-1 to allow for a statewide drinking water standard of up to 70 parts per trillion worth of PFAs.

This happened despite an EPA advisory calling for much lower levels of the toxic chemicals.

“We’re asking the legislature to go back and re-evaluate those standards because we know 70 parts per trillion is no longer a valid limit,” said Campbell Town Supervisor Lee Donahue.

“The state has to have safe drinking water standards,” she added.

In recent weeks, the state of Wisconsin sued 18 different manufacturers over the issue of PFAS contamination.

In 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency established the EPA council on PFAS.

Earlier this year, Gov. Evers announced that the state would use more than $600,000 in funding from the EPA to support efforts to test for PFAS and also to help ensure that water is clean and safe.

In November 2021, President Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act into law, which included $10 billion to address the issue of PFAS throughout the United States.

According to Elmore, the process of distributing the federal funds to address the issue of PFAS in Wisconsin is still being figured out.

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