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DNR Stepping Up Efforts to Protect Drinking Water
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 07/23/2019

With the quality of Wisconsin's drinking water being a hot topic this year, the state's natural resources department announced it is initiating a new voluntary PFAS testing program. The DNR will ask 125 municipal wastewater treatment facilities to begin sampling and analyzing water flowing for PFAS compounds to gain a better understanding of how and where such contaminants could be entering the air, land and waters of the state before ultimately ending up in the aquifers.

PFAS--which stands for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances--are man-made chemicals used for decades in numerous products like non-stick cookware, fast food wrappers, stain-resistant sprays, and certain types of firefighting foam.

"No one should ever be afraid to turn on their tap. Clean drinking water is a public health priority," said DNR Secretary Preston Cole. "Water is life-giving. We have an opportunity with this initiative to take a large step forward in protecting our citizens and our natural resources from harmful contaminants."

Data from the sampling results will be used to assist facilities to identify and implement a plan to reduce the amount of PFOA and PFOS entering their facility. The data will also be used to inform DNR on any rule making and associated economic impact analyses as part of the effort to adopt surface water standards and groundwater standards for these two PFAS compounds.

In addition to this wastewater sampling initiate, the DNR is also developing administrative rules in the fall to establish groundwater quality standards for two PFAS compounds, PFOA and PFOS. The public will be invited to provide input at several steps in the process.

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