Wells in Wisconsin Town Found to Have PFAS 160 Times Over Standards

Dec. 28, 2022
During randomized statewide testing, the Department of Natural Resources, found high PFAS levels in Stella, Wisconsin, wells.

After testing approximately 30 wells in Stella, Wisconsin, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) found that several wells tested positive for PFAS at levels 160 times higher thant the state's standards. 

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the standards are set for 70 parts per trillion for drinking water. Currently, the state has no regulations for groundwater, though officials are working to set standards. 

The PFAS were found during randomized testing by the DNR that was done statewide. While the full scope of the contamination remains unknown, "many wells contained the chemicals," according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 

The testing was part of a larger sampling program targeting private wells drawing from shallow groundwater, according to DNR documents. The samples were collected in the summer and fall and found three shallow wells across the state that had high levels of PFAS, one of which was in Stella, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

James Yach, a DNR employee, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the department has asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for assistance in investigating the source of the contamination. Stella is a town of only about 600 people. 

""There aren't any of the typical things you'd look for like an industrial source or an airport where they'd use PFAS materials," Yach told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Currently, the water is not safe for residents to consume. David Brunette, a Town of Stella Chairperson, said the water at the town hall is being tested. If that comes back clear, residents will have access to that water. 

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said the DNR is looking for funding source for bottled water, and the department is recommending "alternative sources of water, because treatment systems aren't rated to handle levels of contamination this high."

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