MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today announced a new interactive tool with information about per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) throughout Wisconsin. The PFAS Interactive Data Viewer combines publicly available information from multiple sources across the DNR’s website into one tool to allow users to more easily explore what is known about PFAS in Wisconsin.
Available information in the PFAS Interactive Data Viewer includes locations with known contamination, PFAS-related fish and game consumption advisories and waterbodies throughout Wisconsin sampled during targeted or routine monitoring.
Data from the DNR’s recent voluntary municipal drinking water system sampling program is also included. Through this program, almost 150 municipal water systems worked with the DNR to determine if PFAS is present in their drinking water. These systems provide water to more than 1.7 million people. Under drinking water standards for PFOA and PFOS that went into effect in August, all drinking water systems will now be required to sample and monitor for PFAS beginning as early as next month. Data from the required sampling will be incorporated into this tool as it becomes available.
“As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act and reflect on the progress we’ve made during that time, we know that having information about contamination is an important step in addressing it,” said DNR Secretary Preston D. Cole. “Whether sampling our groundwater, lakes, rivers and streams, drinking water, or fish and wildlife, we continue to learn more about how PFAS is impacting our state. This tool will help us consider these different impacts so we can collaborate on solutions to address this very complex contaminant.”
With easier access to information about the presence of PFAS, communities, policymakers and other stakeholders can make informed decisions to minimize exposure, develop plans for mitigation, and access necessary resources. Wisconsin communities will benefit from hundreds of millions of dollars in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) funding to help local governments and utilities build and upgrade their infrastructure to best address PFAS.
At present, the viewer pulls data from the Surface Water Integrated Monitoring System (SWIMS), Bureau for Remediation and Redevelopment Tracking System (BRRTS) on the Web (BOTW), the DNR’s fish consumption resources and Drinking Water System Portal. The data presented in the viewer capture sampling results but do not necessarily reflect current levels of contamination or risk.
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 through spills of PFAS-containing chemicals, discharges of PFAS-containing wastewater to treatment plants and certain types of firefighting foams.
Development of the PFAS Interactive Data Viewer was recommended by the Wisconsin PFAS Action Council (WisPAC) in the PFAS Action Plan. More information about PFAS and a tutorial for the PFAS Interactive Data Viewer are available on the DNR’s website.