MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will host the first PFAS External Advisory Group meeting on Feb. 23, 2021.
The PFAS External Advisory Group builds on the DNR’s ongoing commitment to improve public engagement, facilitate collaboration, and promote shared accountability on PFAS in Wisconsin. The Advisory Group will be a collaborative forum for the DNR to solicit constructive feedback on PFAS initiatives that the DNR is working on.
The meeting will take place 1-3 p.m. on Feb. 23 via Zoom. Pre-registration is not required. All meetings are open for the public to attend.
The creation of the PFAS External Advisory Group reflects the value of engagement and the importance of connecting different perspectives toward addressing PFAS. The group is staffed by the DNR and includes more than two dozen members who represent stakeholder groups, community members and other interested parties in both public and private sectors. The full member list is available here.
“We are pleased to facilitate this new opportunity for stakeholders to share input and information with one another and with the DNR,” said Darsi Foss, DNR Environmental Management Division Administrator. “We value the chance to hear feedback from different perspectives and look forward to engaging with this group on PFAS initiatives in Wisconsin.”
PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are a group of human-made chemicals used for decades in numerous products, including non-stick cookware, fast food wrappers and stain-resistant sprays. These legacy 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 do not break down in the environment and have been discovered at concentrations of concern in groundwater, surface water and drinking water across Wisconsin. PFAS are known to bioaccumulate in the tissues of fish and wildlife. They also accumulate in the human body and pose several risks to human health.
Addressing PFAS contamination in the environment is part of Gov. Tony Evers’ statewide initiative to ensure Wisconsinites have access to clean, safe, drinking water. In 2019, the governor signed Executive Order #40 to address the issue of PFAS across the state.
Additionally, the governor’s 2021-23 biennial budget unveiled this week proposes significant resources for the monitoring and testing of PFAS including over $20 million over the next two years for assistance and resources to local communities that are impacted by PFAS contamination, aiding local fire departments in disposing of PFAS foam, and adding additional DNR staff to implement the Wisconsin PFAS Action Council’s action plan.
The DNR has undertaken several measures to mitigate PFAS pollution, including establishing the Wisconsin PFAS Action Council (WisPAC) in 2020 and spearheading the creation of the statewide PFAS Action Plan. The plan includes 25 action items centered around three guiding principles: environmental justice, health equity and pollution prevention.
Upcoming PFAS External Advisory Group meeting dates will be available here.