PFAS Wastewater Testing: Most utilities decline to participate

Feb 20, 2020

More than 100 utilities around Wisconsin declined to participate in a request to test wastewater for PFAS, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, or DNR.

PFAS are man-made chemicals which can be found in products including non-stick cookware, stain-resistant carpet, and certain fire-fighting foams, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, or DHS.

PFAS can contaminate water, according to DHS.

The DNR made the PFAS wastewater testing request last summer. The DNR requested utilities including Appleton Wastewater Treatment Facility and NEW Water run the tests, both of which declined. Participation was voluntary. The NEW Water service area includes Green Bay, De Pere, and Ashwaubenon, among other areas.

"[T]he DNR is asking you to find out, 'Do you have a problem?' and next of all, 'Can you identify the source of the problem?'” said Doug Oitzinger, the former mayor of Marinette who is outspoken on the issue of PFAS and health.

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