MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today announced it is extending the deadline for Town of Peshtigo well owners in the Expanded Site Investigation Area to submit documents to have their wells sampled. The DNR is testing private drinking water wells as part of its investigation into groundwater contaminated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
Due to the potential presence of groundwater contaminated with PFAS, the DNR will use state funds for the sampling effort, scheduled to resume this spring. There is no cost to residents to have their well sampled.
The new deadline for well owners to return documents for participation in the DNR’s private drinking water well sampling program is May 7, 2021. Well owners in the study area were previously asked to return a Potable Well Survey and an Access Permission Agreement by April 2.
“If well owners received a sampling packet and would like their potable well sampled, they should return the necessary documents to the DNR with a postmark date no later than May 7, 2021,” said Jodie Peotter, DNR Brownfields Outreach and Policy Section Chief. “The DNR wants to make sure that everyone in the Town of Peshtigo site investigation area has the opportunity to have their well tested for PFAS.”
In the fall of 2020, the DNR and its contractor, Wood Environment and Infrastructure Solutions (Wood), sent 576 well sampling information packets to landowners in Peshtigo.
On March 5, 2021, the DNR and Wood sent updated well sampling packets to landowners who had not yet responded. So far, the DNR has tested more than 300 drinking water wells for PFAS. Well owners expecting a packet but who did not receive one should email the DNR at DNRJCIPFAS@wisconsin.gov or call 1-888-626-3244.
All well owners can expect to receive results via U.S. Postal Service within 30 days of sampling. If the sample results from a well exceed the Wisconsin Department of Health Services’ (DHS) Cycle 10 and Cycle 11 recommended groundwater standards, the DNR will contact the well owner via telephone within 24 hours of receipt of laboratory data. The DHS will contact well owners if additional action is warranted.
Well owners who decide not to participate in the sampling effort are also asked to return the Potable Well Survey with a postmark date no later than May 7, 2021 to let the DNR know they do not want to have their well sampled.
The DNR has undertaken several measures to mitigate PFAS pollution, including establishing the Wisconsin PFAS Action Council (WisPAC) in 2020, resulting in the creation of a multi-agency, statewide PFAS Action Plan. The plan includes 25 action items centered around three guiding principles: environmental justice, health equity and pollution prevention.
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.
The governor’s 2021-23 biennial budget unveiled in February proposes significant resources to monitor and test for PFAS. This includes over $20 million over the next two years for assistance to local communities impacted by PFAS contamination, aiding local fire departments in disposing of PFAS foam and adding additional DNR staff to implement the WisPAC action plan.
Well owners and area residents with questions about the DNR’s sampling of potable wells are encouraged to email DNRJCIPFAS@Wisconsin.gov or call 1-888-626-3244.
For more information on PFAS contamination in the Marinette and Peshtigo area, visit the DNR’s Marinette and Peshtigo PFAS webpage.