MARINETTE — The City of Marinette’s drinking water has tested safe, with PFOS/PFOA at “no detect” or minimal trace amounts, which are well below the EPA health advisory level of 70 parts per trillion.
In May 2016 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established a new drinking water health advisory for a family of chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which includes perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).
On July 5, 2017, Tyco asked the City of Marinette Common Council for permission to conduct environmental testing for contamination in certain city street right of ways. Tyco and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources wanted to learn if contamination moved in the groundwater away from Tyco property. The request was to test for specific contaminants known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and PFAS. The City of Marinette Common Council approved the request.
On Nov. 13, Tyco verbally reported the results of this environmental testing to City of Marinette Officials. According to Tyco, the results showed levels of PFAS in groundwater in excess of the EPA’s health advisory for drinking water. There is no Wisconsin drinking water standard for PFAS.
City officials met during the week of Nov. 13 with officials from Tyco, the Wisconsin Departments of Health and Natural Resources to discuss the issue.
Because the city drinking water comes from the Bay of Green Bay, the immediate concern is for people who drink groundwater from private wells. Only a few property owners in the City of Marinette use private potable wells.
The previous test of city drinking water for PFAS was conducted in 2013, and was negative for PFAS. As a precaution, last week the city conducted additional tests of city drinking water for PFAS, and the results of the city’s testing were transmitted to the Wisconsin DNR.
On Nov. 20, Tyco requested the Common Council and Water and Wastewater Utility Commission approve a second Access Agreement to allow Tyco to perform additional environmental testing on City property to determine the extent of the PFAS in groundwater. The Common Council and Water and Wastewater Utility Commission approved the second Access Agreement. Tyco was set to resume testing groundwater on Wednesday.
Questions about PFAS in drinking water should be directed to Robert Thiboldeaux, Wisconsin Department of Health, at 1-608-267-6844.