DNR presents PFAS remediation and redevelopment program to Wausau City Council

(WSAW Tom Zurawski)
Published: Mar. 14, 2023 at 9:31 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - The Wisconsin DNR met with the Wausau City Council and Wausau Mayor Katie Rosenberg Tuesday night to present and educate the public and the city on its PFAS Remediation and Redevelopment program.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced that for the first time ever, the federal government will propose standards for PFAS. This would set an acceptable amount of PFAS in our drinking water at four parts per trillion.

Wisconsin currently has implemented standards at 70 parts per trillion for the two most common types of PFAS, PFOA and PFOS, which is significantly below the EPA standard. Wausau has done the same as the city reached nearly undetectable levels in the past year.

“Both agencies will review the proposed standards and accompanying documents and monitor the federal rule-making process as the EPA works toward a final rule,” said a DNR spokesperson.

With Wausau having a solid grasp on how to handle PFAS with the new water treatment facility coming online, the DNR and other health agencies will begin to take on the task of finding out who, or what caused the chemicals to get to such high levels in the first place. “There may not just be one source or one responsible party in some of our cases and that can be very difficult to sort through on multiple levels,” said Trevor Nobile, DNR field operations director.

Ensuring the people who are responsible for contamination are following applicable laws was highlighted by the DNR Tuesday night as well. Whoever is responsible for the PFAS levels, they are required by law to notify the DNR and other organizations to stop or at least mitigate further contamination. Additionally, if multiple organizations are involved, there would be a sort of shared blame in the eyes of the DNR unless a third-party agreement were to be made.

As federal guidelines become clearer throughout the year, the DNR plans to use those guidelines to draft specific regulations into state law by the end of this year or early 2024.