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Wisconsin PFAS Action Council Releases PFAS Action Plan Progress Report

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today announced the Wisconsin PFAS Action Council (WisPAC) released its PFAS Action Plan Progress Report. The Progress Report outlines steps taken by state agencies to address PFAS contamination since December 2020, when the Wisconsin PFAS Action Plan was released.

The Wisconsin PFAS Action Plan includes 25 recommended action items categorized into eight themes: standard setting, sampling, pollution prevention, education and communication, research and knowledge, phase-out, future investments and historic discharges.

“The progress we’ve seen with addressing PFAS as a state is a reflection of the coordination and collaboration that grew out of WisPAC and the PFAS Action Plan,” said DNR Secretary Preston D. Cole. “I am proud of the continued work by WisPAC, with DNR at the helm, in partnership with communities and stakeholders working together toward solutions that will protect the public and support our businesses.”

Progress report highlights include:

  • Investing $1 million to collect more than 25,000 gallons of PFAS-containing firefighting foam waste from across more than 60 counties in Wisconsin.
  • Sampling more than 125 municipal drinking water systems, 100 waste water treatment plants and hundreds of private drinking water wells.
  • Establishing the Office of Environmental Justice.
  • Initiating legal action against 18 major chemical companies.

WisPAC member agencies will continue working on the Action Plan and expect additional community resources to be deployed this year. In addition to launching an interactive PFAS mapping tool, work continues with stakeholders to implement standards for certain PFAS in drinking water and surface water.

The PFAS Action Plan was developed by WisPAC, a group of nearly 20 state agencies and the University of Wisconsin, to address environmental and public health concerns that are or may be posed by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in Wisconsin. The plan was created in response to Governor Evers’ Executive Order #40, directing Dept. of Natural Resources to lead a group of state agencies in building a blueprint for how Wisconsin can address the use of and contamination from these “forever chemicals.”

With DNR leading the way, WisPAC has partnered with Wisconsin’s local governments, businesses and communities in developing and implementing the PFAS Action Plan. Recommended actions in the plan include items identified through input from the public, state agencies and a citizen and local government advisory group. Each recommendation contains an overview of what would be required to bring it to fruition, including budgetary, legislative and staffing needs.

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, and humans and animals can develop negative health impacts when exposed to them.

In addition to the state’s PFAS Action Plan, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released its own PFAS Strategic Roadmap in October 2021. While the EPA and other federal agencies implement the Roadmap over the next few years, WisPAC members will coordinate and support communities and stakeholders through new federal regulations and guidance.

To read the PFAS Action Plan, the Progress Report or learn more about WisPAC, please visit the DNR's Wisconsin PFAS Action Council (WisPAC) webpage.