MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is investigating a separate contamination issue found in one of the ditches downstream of the JCI/Tyco Fire Technology Center in Marinette, Wisconsin.
On Thursday, Sept. 17, the DNR received notification from Johnson Controls, Inc. (JCI) and its subsidiary Tyco Fire Products, LP (Tyco) of a sheen on surface water in Ditch B seen upstream from the treatment system used to control PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances).
Ditch B was noted to have elevated PFAS samples in August. Information on that testing can be found here.
On Friday, Sept. 18, the DNR conducted a site visit with JCI/Tyco to examine the sheen and was able to trace it to an upstream residential area. JCI/Tyco has deployed booms and absorbent padding and is in the process of cleaning up the area affected by the sheen.
The sheen has a petroleum odor but at this time its chemical makeup is unknown and the source is as yet undetermined by the DNR. JCI/Tyco’s consultant collected surface water samples from the sheen area for laboratory analysis.
At this time JCI/Tyco has paused the treatment system in Ditch B so as to not damage the filtration system. The DNR will continue to work with JCI/Tyco on the cleanup effort to ensure the PFAS treatment system is restarted as soon as possible.
Any individuals that may have information regarding the sheen may contact the DNR’s tip line: 1-800-TIP-WDNR.
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 PFAS-containing wastewater to treatment plants and certain types of firefighting foams.
PFAS contamination has been detected in the Marinette and Peshtigo area in soil, sediment, groundwater, surface water, private drinking water wells and biosolids. Under the oversight of the DNR, JCI and Tyco Fire Products have been identified as responsible parties and have been directed by the DNR to conduct investigations into areas impacted by PFAS contamination in the Marinette and Peshtigo area due to their companies’ operations. The DNR continues close coordination on these matters with JCI/Tyco and is monitoring their progress to investigate and address PFAS contamination in the Marinette area.
Because the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency does not have a federal drinking water standard for these contaminants, like other states, Wisconsin is working to address this critical issue. The rule-making process started with the state department of health services recommending a cumulative groundwater enforcement standard of 20 parts per trillion (ppt) for PFOA and PFOS.
The recommended standards will be enforceable once the rules are finalized. More information on the status of this rules process is available on the DNR’s NR 140 Groundwater Quality Standards web page.
More information regarding PFAS contamination in the Marinette and Peshtigo area is available on the DNR’s Marinette and Peshtigo PFAS web page.