DNR to make bottled water available to two dozen homes near Rhinelander affected by high PFAS levels

The DNR has made carryout cases of bottled water available to those residents until temporary emergency water agreements are established
Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 11:33 AM CST
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TOWN OF STELLA, Wis. (WSAW) - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Department of Health Services and Wisconsin Emergency Management are taking steps to provide temporary safe drinking water to residents with private wells who are impacted by PFAS in the town of Stella in Oneida County. The town of Stella is northeast of Rhinelander.

Drinking water advisories have been issued for 24 homes in the town of Stella due to elevated PFAS levels in private drinking wells. The DNR has made carryout cases of bottled water available to those residents until temporary emergency water agreements are established.

A public meeting for residents in the town of Stella will be held from 5-6:30 p.m. at the Stella Town Hall. Click here for more information.

The DNR has contracted with Culligan to provide bottled water delivery in 5-gallon containers to the homes. Residents interested in this service are required to request it through the DNR and sign an access agreement with the state and vendor before receiving water delivery. Residents should not contact Culligan directly if they are requesting the DNR to pay for bottled water.

To request a temporary alternative water supply from the DNR, complete an agreement and email it to DNRStellaPFAS@wisconsin.gov or mail it to:

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources c/o Gwen Saliares – RR/5 P.O. Box 7923 Madison, WI 53703

When completing the agreement, residents should indicate if they need a bottom-loading dispenser. Bottom-loading dispensers are generally provided to those who are unable to lift 5-gallon jugs. Eligible residents who are currently paying for their own bottled-water service should also complete and submit an agreement so the DNR can take over the coordination and payments of their service.

PFAS are found in water, air, fish, and soil at locations across the nation and the globe. Scientific studies have shown that exposure to some PFAS in the environment may be linked to harmful health effects in humans and animals. Dr. Sarah Yang, the groundwater toxicologist for DHS previously said exposure to high levels of PFAS can increase cholesterol levels, decrease response to certain vaccines, and reduced fertility in women, among other health problems.