Nov 10, 2020

Wisconsin Health Officials Propose Groundwater Standards

Wisconsin health officials propose groundwater standards for 22 substances


Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers' administration is proposing new groundwater quality standards. 

The standards are for 22 substances that pose a risk to public health, including 16 per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) chemicals and six pesticides. 

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has proposed the new standards after having received a list of 40 substances, including 34 PFAS chemicals, to be assessed as potential health risks from the state Department of Natural Resources. The DHS did not recommend standards on 18 of those substances due to limited information on them, reported Wisconsin Public Radio.

"These recommendations demonstrate our ongoing commitment to ensuring clean, safe drinking water for Wisconsin residents," said DHS Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk in a statement. "With this essential information in hand, we continue our vital work to protect this precious resource."

The agency is proposing a combined groundwater standard of 20 parts per trillion (ppt) for six PFAS chemicals, including PFOA and PFOS, reported Wisconsin Public Radio. The four additional PFAS substances include: N-Ethyl perfluorooctane sulfonamideoethanol (NEtFOSE), N-Ethyl perfluorooctane sulfonamidacetic acid (NEtFOSAA), N-Ethyl perfluorooctane sulfonamide (NEtFOSA), and Perfluorooctane sulfonamide (FOSA). 

More than two-thirds of Wisconsin residents get their drinking water from groundwater, according to Steve Elmore, DNR director of the Bureau of Drinking Water and Groundwater. 

The DNR is currently in the process of developing drinking water, groundwater and surface water standards for PFOA and PFOS. The public will have an opportunity to comment on the proposed standards.

State agriculture officials submitted several chemicals to the agency for review as well, reported Wisconsin Public Radio. The DNR has requested Wisconsin health officials to develop groundwater standards 11 times.

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