Town of Campbell supervisors describe the mayor of La Crosse’s response to an official town request as unprofessional.

Tim Kabat hasn't responded to the town's request to test all town wells for PFAS, but he did respond to media requests

TOWN OF CAMPBELL, Wis. (WKBT)- Town of Campbell supervisors are angry; calling the mayor of La Crosse’s response to an official town request unprofessional. The town asked Mayor Tim Kabat to test all French Island wells for a dangerous compound. 

There is a right way and a wrong way to treat your neighbor. Town of Campbell Supervisor, Lee Donahue says the City of La Crosse chose the latter. “They are not doing all they can. They need to test every well and provide safe drinking water to every resident now.”, says Donahue.

The City of La Crosse is testing some parts of French Island for a dangerous compound called PFAS. The man-made chemical has been linked to infertility, thyroid disease, and cancer. PFAS was used to produce the fire-fighting foam sprayed at the La Crosse Airport, that according to the city’s own tests spread, to more than 100 private wells. There may be more. We don’t know how many, because the City of La Crosse refuses to test the entire island. “If this would have been done three months ago we would be working on a solution. Instead; we’re still pointing fingers at each other.”, says Town Supervisor Ralph Thoren.

Homeowners outside the city’s testing area, concerned with the safety of their water, have been paying up to $425 out of pocket for their own test. All have come back with at least a detectable level of PFAS. The results prompted the Town of Campbell to again ask La Crosse Mayor Tim Kabat to test all town wells.

The mayor hasn’t responded to the town, but he did respond to media requests. “That’s not how professional organizations do business. Sending a press release it an outside news outlet is not how you respond.”, says Donahue.

But it’s what Kabat wrote, that really makes Town of Campbell Supervisor Thoren angry. Kabat’s statement reads in part: “To date, there is no evidence that contamination at the airport has resulted or could result in PFAS contamination either north or west of the airport.” Supervisor Thoren disagrees. “”The City of La Crosse is back pedaling. They had a hydrologist that said how the groundwater flows under our island. We’ve talked to many other hydrologists since then. None of them have agreed with that.”, says Thoren.

Kabat went on to write “The city believes it is important for the city and the Town of Campbell to work together..” So do Supervisors Donahue and Thoren. ” We absolutely want to work together.”, says Thoren. They say its time for the mayor to start now. 

The City of La Crosse is providing water to homes with high levels of PFAS; including to families outside it’s testing area. It is unclear whether the city will refund those homeowners for their well test.