MARINETTE — The City of Marinette Wastewater Department continues to monitor the PFAS content of effluent and influent flows at the wastewater treatment plant. 

Following a recent declaration from Tyco Fire Products LP, and its parent company Johnson Controls Inc, stating they finalized approximately $1 million for the refurbishment and cleaning of wastewater treatment lines leading away from the Tyco facilities into the Marinette wastewater system, the Water & Wastewater Department wanted to ensure those lines remain clear of PFAS. 

“We know PFAS accumulates in the biosolids (over time),” said Water & Wastewater Operations Manager Warren Howard. “So we want to make sure those numbers remain as low as we can make them.”

On several occasions and in letters to the Wisconsin Department of Resources, JCI/Tyco continue to maintain that they may not represent the only source of PFAS contamination in and around Marinette. For that reason, officials with the Wastewater department want to remain vigilant.

In his Oct. 17 letter, responding to the DNR’s Notice of Noncompliance regarding the overdue development of a sight investigation plan for 16 area fields that historically received Marinette biosolids as fertilizer, JCI Vice President, Environment, Health, & Safety John Perkins cited the potential of other possible PFAS sources.

“ … it is a certainty that substantial sources of PFAS exist that are not associated with Tyco and DNR has not even attempted to investigate those sources,” Perkins wrote on behalf of Tyco.

Friday, when Tyco submitted its sight investigation plan, Perkins emphasized that the DNR has the legal responsibility to identify those other sources of contamination. 

However, DNR Environmental Management Division Administrator Darsi Foss, who possesses 35 years of experience with cleanup projects similar to those occurring in the Marinette area, disagreed. 

“(The DNR) really doesn’t’ have that obligation,” Foss said. 

She explained the DNR’s responsibility pertains to the search for, and monitoring of, “major responsible parties.”

“There is no law stating the DNR must identify every single responsible party,” Foss added.  

According to Howard, results of the most recent influent and effluent Marinette wastewater samples remain pending at a state certified lab.  When available, officials will post those results to the City of Marinette Water & Wastewater Department web page.