Frequently Asked Questions
PFAS contamination in the Marinette and Peshtigo area
PFAS contamination has been detected in the Marinette and Peshtigo areas in soil, sediment, groundwater, surface water, private drinking water wells and biosolids. Answers to questions asked of DNR staff are posted on this page, which will be updated regularly. Additional information is available on the main Marinette/Peshtigo area page.
- Who should I contact with my questions and concerns?
- The DNR's PFAS website is a good starting point for general information and resources on PFAS.
- If you have questions about PFAS contamination, investigations, and cleanup occurring in the Marinette and Peshtigo area:
- The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) can address your health questions about exposure to PFAS, including current recommendations for PFAS in drinking water.
- The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture and Consumer Protection (DATCP) can be contacted for concerns about PFAS in agriculture at 608-224-5012.
- JCI/Tyco also maintains a webpage with updates and contact information about the PFAS contamination and cleanup at tycomarinette.com.
- Who is responsible for PFAS contamination in Marinette, Peshtigo and surrounding communities?
JCI/Tyco's industrial operations caused discharges of PFAS to the environment. JCI/Tyco is responsible for finding the extent of the contamination caused by these discharges; this investigation work is ongoing. Other sources contributing to PFAS contamination in the area are possible.
- How long will it take to clean up the contamination?
PFAS are "forever chemicals" that do not break down easily. Restoration of the environment is expected to take decades. Responsible parties are required to clean up to the extent practicable. The cleanup must be protective to human health and the environment.
- Can I test my private well for PFAS?
Yes, you can collect a sample from your well and have it tested by a private laboratory at your own expense. The DNR maintains a list of laboratories certified to complete PFAS analysis in Wisconsin. You can contact any of these laboratories to receive a quote. The lab should provide you with a test kit, answer questions about sample collection and send you a report with your testing results.
- What do the results of my private well test mean?
The DNR PFAS Impacts webpage and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) PFAS website provide information to assist you in understanding PFAS levels in drinking water. You can also contact the DHS at DHSEnvHealth@dhs.wisconsin.gov to discuss your results.
- What can I do if PFAS are detected in my well?
The DHS has published an information sheet about home treatment options for PFAS in drinking water. Point-of-entry treatment (POET) or whole-house filtration systems can effectively remove PFAS from the water if properly designed and maintained.
- How can my well be impacted and not my neighbor's?
Regional geology affects where and how deep PFAS migrate in groundwater. Neighboring wells may be screened at different depths or constructed differently. The local geology and well construction will affect which wells are impacted by PFAS.
- What is the DNR's position on a long-term drinking water solution for affected residents in the town of Peshtigo?
The DNR is committed to helping residents in the town of Peshtigo receive a long-term source of safe drinking water. While the DNR has stated and maintains that its preferred alternative for safe drinking water is a public water supply, we recognize the need to address feasibility constraints and be responsive to residents' preferences, including those who prefer deep wells.
- Will a deep well provide safe drinking water?
JCI/Tyco is required to evaluate and provide the DNR with sufficient information to explain how the deep wells that JCI/Tyco has offered residents as a drinking water supply are designed to be protective of human health and the environment and to document the plan for monitoring after the wells are installed. Proper well installation is needed to prevent cross-contamination of PFAS from the shallow aquifer, and monitoring the water quality in the well is recommended. In addition, water from the deeper aquifer in this area has been found to contain naturally occurring contaminants (e.g., radium) and may require treatment to achieve concentrations that are below health standards. Maintenance of the treatment system would be required for the duration of use of the deep well if contaminants above health standards are present.
- Why does the DNR prefer a municipal drinking water (public water) source?
Public water must meet all state and federal health-based drinking water standards and is monitored regularly for regulated contaminants. Public water systems are required to be operated by licensed operators to ensure water quality. Public water systems must create and follow emergency operation plans that result in consistent and reliable service. Currently, municipal drinking water systems are monitored for over 80 contaminants. Beginning in 2022, municipal water systems will be required to monitor PFAS regularly and meet State Of Wisconsin standards. It is anticipated that the U.S. EPA will propose federal drinking water standards for PFAS in public water systems in 2022/2023. See EPA Actions to Address PFAS | US EPA for current updates.
- Is public water a possible solution for everyone in the area?
It may not be practicable or feasible to deliver a public supply of municipal water to all homes, and some residents may not want municipal water. To receive municipal water, there must be a public entity willing and able to extend water service to an area or a public entity able to create and maintain a new water utility. Any expansion or establishment of a municipal system must be approved locally and by the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC).
- Where can I find PFAS results from private well testing completed in this area?
See the Drinking Water Section for a summary and links to private well testing results.
- Where can I find PFAS results from the cities of Marinette and Peshtigo municipal water supplies?
See links to the cities' websites under the Drinking Water Section.
- Is there PFAS contamination associated with landspreading of biosolids in this area?
See Background Landspreading Fields Section for more information.
- Are there concerns about PFAS contamination in gardening or agricultural food supplies?
The DHS has a factsheet on gardening with safety tips for home gardeners to reduce exposure to PFAS. Contact the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture and Consumer Protection (DATCP) at 608-224-5012, or explore the EPA's PFAS website or the FDA's PFAS webpage for current information on PFAS in agriculture and food.
- Where can I learn more about settlements and lawsuits?
The DNR cannot comment on ongoing legal matters being conducted by the state. The DNR also cannot comment on any private, third-party settlements or lawsuits or provide individual citizens with legal advice.