PFAS Contamination in the Town of Campbell and French Island
PFAS contamination has been detected on French Island in the Town of Campbell in municipal wells, private drinking water and groundwater. In addition to the information on this website, the city of La Crosse has a website dedicated to providing information to the public.
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- Public Meetings
Questions about PFAS contamination in the Town of Campbell and French Island may be submitted by email to DNRCampbellPFAS@wisconsin.gov or by calling 1-866-220-4841 (toll-free).
Public Meeting Date Time(s) Location Information Listening Session #1 April 15, 2021 6-7:30 p.m.
Remote via web
Join by phone: 1-312-626-6799
Meeting ID: 853 7169 3701
Public Meeting Date Time(s) Location Information Community Information Session #1 March 25, 2021 6:30 p.m. Remote via web Watch online: YouTube
- Drinking Water Sampling
PFAS was detected in potable drinking water wells sampled by the city of La Crosse as part of its site investigation (the city's identified well sampling area is shown as the blue hatched area in the map below), and in wells sampled by private citizens outside the city's identified well sampling area.
The table below shows a summary of these drinking water sample results received by the DNR through April 13, 2021, at 1:30 p.m. Site information can be found on the Remediation and Redevelopment Program database (BRRTS on the Web), search BRRTS # 02-32-587311.
Drinking Water (Potable Wells) Number of Samples Received Number of Non-detects Number of Samples with Detects Exceeding DHS Recommended Groundwater Standards 1 Number of Samples Greater than DHS PFAS Hazard Index of 1.0 2 Private Wells Sampled by City of La Crosse 166 1 55 13 Private Well Data Submitted by Residents 35 0 19 1 Private Wells Sampled by the DNR - - - - TOTALS 201 1 74 14
1 The table references the recommended groundwater standards issued by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) on June 21, 2019, known as "Cycle 10," and the recommended groundwater standards issued by DHS on November 6, 2020, known as "Cycle 11." Samples meeting or exceeding any of the recommended PFAS standards in cycle 10 or 11 will be included in this number.
2 The table references the recommended cumulative risk assessment method by DHS on November 17, 2020. Samples meeting or exceeding a PFAS Hazard Index of 1.0 will be included in this number. This means that no PFAS compound detected in a well attained or exceeded the DHS recommended standard, but the mixture of PFAS compounds detected would be such that the DHS and DNR would recommend another source of safe water for use.
DNR Potable Well Sampling Program
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and its contractor are evaluating the available information – including existing private well sampling results – to develop a sampling plan for a subset of French Island's private water supply wells. Based on sampling results, the state will determine whether to continue or modify the interim, area-wide drinking water advisory for PFAS. This effort may take up to 90 days. Sampling crews will be on the Island requesting access to and sampling wells at pre-selected homes in mid-April 2021.
- Alternative Drinking Water
Photo Credit: Peter Thomson, La Crosse Tribune
The city of La Crosse is supplying affected community members within the city's identified site investigation area with bottled water if PFAS concentrations in the samples were at or above state recommended groundwater standards. Please visit the city's website for more information.
On March 25, 2021, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) issued an interim area-wide drinking water advisory, allowing the DNR to provide temporary emergency water to residents with private wells on French Island who are not currently receiving water from the city of La Crosse.
Given this interim area-wide drinking water advisory, the state is taking the following steps to aid in providing safe drinking water to those residents with private drinking water supplies with known and suspected PFAS contamination.
1. Providing Bottled Water To Homes. For those residents with private water supplies, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will provide the option of bottled water to be delivered in five-gallon containers to those residents' homes, through a state contract with Culligan. Residents need to sign up for this service through the DNR by filling out an agreement with the state to begin receiving water. Residents should not contact Culligan directly if they are requesting the state to pay for the bottled water.
To request a temporary alternative water supply from the DNR, please fill out an Agreement for Requesting Temporary Emergency Water and send to DNRCampbellPFAS@wisconsin.gov or:
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Jenna Soyer - RR/5
PO Box 7921
Madison WI 53703
The Town of Campbell will make physical forms available at the town hall. The town will scan and email agreements to the DNR. The town hall can be accessed Monday, Wednesday and Thursday 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.; Tuesday 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.; and Friday 8 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Be sure to indicate on the agreement if you need a bottom-loading dispenser. Bottom-loading dispensers are generally provided to those who are unable to lift five-gallon jugs.
Residents who are currently paying for their own bottled-water service should also fill out and submit an agreement in order to have the DNR take over coordination and payment of their service. Please indicate on the form or in your email the name of the company with which you have an existing service.
Residents receiving bottled-water delivery service from DNR are reminded to exchange empty bottles for full bottles at their next delivery. Please do not discard or recycle your empty five-gallon containers.
2. Providing Carryout Cases Of Bottled Water. After the DNR receives your temporary emergency water agreement, there may be a short delay in receiving your bottled water delivery service due to demand. During this time, immediate access to carryout bottled water is being made available through donations from local businesses as supplies last.
To request carryout cases of bottled water, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Under the oversight of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the city of La Crosse began conducting a site investigation for PFAS on French Island in the spring of 2019 based on PFAS detected in Municipal Well #23. In May 2019, the city of La Crosse was identified as the responsible party.
This investigation continues to evolve as additional work is performed. It is possible that more sites and responsible parties may be identified in the future, necessitating additional investigation. This page will be updated as new information becomes available. For more information on the city's investigation, see BRRTS 02-32-587347.
Responsible parties (RPs) that cause a discharge of a hazardous substance or environmental pollution are required to report, investigate and clean up contamination. RPs are required to immediately notify the state of a discharge of a hazardous substance regardless of whether the discharge is confined to the property where the contamination occurred or has migrated to another property. The DNR follows the process outlined in NR 700, Wis. Adm. Code, to inform the RP of their requirements, which includes a recommendation to hire a qualified consultant to investigate and remediate contamination in compliance with relevant laws. RPs may also be required to conduct immediate or interim actions, such as providing bottled water or water filtration systems.
- Health Information and Resources
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) is supporting the DNR in assessing human health risks associated with the PFAS contamination in the Town of Campbell on French Island, including recommendations to reduce those risks.
An interim area-wide health advisory can be issued by DHS for a specific area when the well test results we have may mean that a problem with well water exists in an area, but we don't have enough data at the time to know for sure exactly which specific wells are affected. As we obtain more data, the area included in the interim advisory can become larger or smaller or the advisory can be changed to include only specific wells where problems are known to exist.
For health-related questions, please email DHS at DHSEnvHealth@dhs.wisconsin.gov.
Learn more about health effects of various PFAS on the following websites.