The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced the results of a study conducted to understand the extent of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination in shallow groundwater throughout Wisconsin.
PFAS are a group of human-made chemicals used for decades in numerous products, including non-stick cookware, fast food wrappers, stain-resistant sprays and certain types of firefighting foam. These contaminants have made their way into the environment in a variety of ways, including spills of PFAS-containing materials, discharges of wastewater that contain PFAS from treatment plants and use of certain types of firefighting foams.
During the summer and fall of 2022, the DNR used funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to collect water samples from across the state and analyze them for PFAS.
The DNR’s groundwater study shows roughly 7 in 10 private wells contain one or more PFAS, but only 1 in 100 contain PFAS above Wisconsin Department of Health Services’ (DHS) health guidelines.
The results of the study can be found at dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/Groundwater/PFASStudy.html.
In addition, the DNR is currently working to enact standards for four PFAS compounds in groundwater. More information about this proposed rule and opportunities to participate are available at dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/Groundwater/NR140.html.