TOWN OF PESHTIGO — Ditch work along Heath Lane this weekend left at least one landowner upset and may have damaged some Tyco Fire Protection Products/Johnson Controls-owned sampling wells in the per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)-contaminated area in the Town of Peshtigo. 

Herman Pottratz, chairman of the Town of Peshtigo’s Board of Supervisors, said Tuesday that the western end of Heath Lane receives a lot of water from spring snow melt and summer rainfall, but the water has nowhere to go. 

“It’s a difficult situation down there,” he said. “Everything’s mud.” 

In order to help divert the water elsewhere, Pottratz said the town decided to put in a ditch “through from the curve” to allow the water to drain west. Pottratz added that the job was bid out “months ago” and awarded to Road King Excavating. Board minutes state the bid, in the amount of $4,950, was approved in a June 18 meeting. 

“We had to put new culverts in a couple of the driveways there, on the end when it goes downhill,” Pottratz said. 

One of the properties affected, W1017 Heath Lane, is owned by Daniel F. Biehl. Biehl claims he was not notified of the work on his property required to create the ditch, and only found out about the project when digging began this past weekend. 

“Nobody ever talked to me about any of this,” he said. “The gas line, phone line, power line are sticking out of the ground.” 

Biehl added that in addition to the work being done without his knowledge, portions of the ditch do not stay within the 33-feet right of way along the road, for which the town has an easement. He said he was also displeased with Road King Excavating retaining the soil and sand moved while completing the project, and he wants the removed soil replaced. 

“They had no right to do that,” he said. 

Pottratz said the utility lines exposed by the work would be lowered by Wisconsin Public Service.

“This is one of the things that can happen,” Pottratz said of the displeasure caused by the ditch project. 

Still, Pottratz put the Heath Lane ditch and Tyco work projects on a special board meeting agenda, scheduled for noon on Thursday. 

Scott Wahl, senior program manager with Tyco, said Tuesday that the ditch project was news to the company currently monitoring the area’s PFAS contamination. 

“Technically it had nothing to do with us,” he said. “The drainage, what I can tell you, is it might have compromised some of our sampling wells along the Heath Lane area. We will need to investigate and see if we need to do work.” 

Wahl estimated that around four sampling wells may have been affected by the work, and it could cost “tens of thousands of dollars” to redo the wells. 

“I don’t understand what they were trying to do there,” he said. 

Biehl said the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) was also concerned about drainage from the ditch running off into a nearby trout stream and into the bay. Calls to the DNR’s offices Tuesday were not immediately returned.