Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Press Release

DNR Directs JCI/Tyco To Provide Emergency Drinking Water for Three Homeowners On Private Wells Near JCI/Tyco Biosolid Applied Fields Investigation Area After Sampling Results Show High Levels of PFAS Contamination

DNR To Host Online Listening Session April 15

By - Apr 14th, 2020 01:55 pm

MADISON, Wis. – The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) directed Johnson Controls, Inc. (JCI) and its subsidiary Tyco Fire Products, LP (Tyco) to provide bottled drinking water for three homeowners after sample results showed elevated levels of PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) in the homeowners’ private drinking water wells.

JCI/Tyco has completed sampling of 98 of 174 private wells determined JCI/Tyco so far to be located near fields where biosolids had been spread in the past for the areas surrounding Marinette and Peshtigo. Of the 61 preliminary sampling results provided to the DNR to date by JCI/Tyco, three private drinking water wells had PFAS levels in excess of the Department of Health Services (DHS) recommended cumulative groundwater enforcement standard of 20 parts per trillion (ppt) prompting the DNR to require JCI to provide bottled water to those homeowners.

Preliminary results received on April 8, 2020, revealed PFAS concentrations in two private drinking water wells just above 20 ppt, while a third private drinking water well measured a concentration of 1,157 ppt. Drinking water was delivered on April 9 and April 10 respectively.

The results have come as part of JCI and Tyco’s ongoing investigation of the PFAS contamination. JCI/Tyco is responsible for sampling additional wells near the areas where biosolids were spread historically.

The combined preliminary results for two PFAS compounds, PFOA & PFOS, are as follows:

  • 48 wells are No Detect (ND)
  • 6 wells are below the reporting limit (aka “J” flagged)
  • 4 wells are between the reporting limit between and 20 ppt
  • 2 wells are between 20 ppt and 70 ppt
  • 1 well was at 1,157 ppt

The DNR is hosting an online listening session in Marinette at Noon and 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 15 to discuss the recent private well sampling results from the biosolid landspreading areas around Marinette, Peshtigo and surrounding communities. For more information on how to participate in the listening session, visit: https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/Contaminants/Marinette.html.

PFAS contamination has been detected in the Marinette and Peshtigo area in soil, sediment, groundwater, surface water, private drinking water wells and biosolids. Under the oversight of the DNR, JCI and Tyco Fire Products have been identified as responsible parties and have been directed by the DNR to conduct investigations into areas impacted by PFAS contamination in the Marinette and Peshtigo area due to their companies’ operations. The DNR continues close coordination on these matters with JCI/Tyco and is monitoring their progress to investigate and address PFAS contamination in the Marinette area.

PFAS are a group of human-made chemicals used for decades in numerous products, including non-stick cookware, fast food wrappers, stain-resistant sprays and certain types of firefighting foam. These contaminants have made their way into the environment in a variety of ways, including spills of PFAS-containing materials, discharges of PFAS-containing wastewater to treatment plants and certain types of firefighting foams.

Because the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency does not have a federal drinking water standard for these contaminants, like other states, Wisconsin is working to address this critical issue. The rule-making process started with the state department of health services recommending a cumulative groundwater enforcement standard of 20 parts per trillion (ppt) for PFOA and PFOS. The recommended standards will be enforceable once the rules are finalized.

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