MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) and Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM) today announced a new tool to assist community leaders and elected officials in understanding their options for addressing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination in drinking water.
Wisconsin’s Community Response to PFAS in Drinking Water provides background information about PFAS in public and private drinking water, options to consider when PFAS are found and how to contact state agencies to request assistance. The DNR worked with PFAS-impacted communities to get input on this document to ensure it is helpful for other local leaders. This resource is part of an ongoing effort to put tools and information into the hands of communities so they are informed, prepared and empowered to act if PFAS are detected.
“Everyone should be able to drink clean water and PFAS contamination is a growing concern,” said Secretary Adam N. Payne. “We’re pleased to provide this resource to residents, community leaders and elected officials so they can get assistance and we can work in collaboration to problem-solve.”
When PFAS contamination is found in drinking water, local communities and private well owners determine what actions to take based on their unique needs and circumstances. State agencies including the DNR, DHS and WEM are prepared to assist local communities as they explore their options.
Communities currently have access to federal funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) for projects such as creating new public drinking water systems or helping existing systems upgrade wells or treatment technology. Additionally, Gov. Evers’ 2023-2025 biennial budget proposal includes over $100 million for communities to address PFAS contamination.
Private well owners are not required to sample for contaminants such as PFAS, but funding is currently available to assist if a well owner chooses to sample and PFAS are detected. The Well Compensation Grant Program may assist with replacing, reconstructing or treating contaminated private water supplies.
The public can view PFAS sampling results for public drinking water systems in the Interactive PFAS Data Viewer. This interactive map also incorporates datasets from other DNR programs to show locations throughout Wisconsin that have been impacted by PFAS.
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 in a variety of ways, including spills of PFAS-containing materials, discharges of PFAS-containing wastewater to treatment plants, and use of certain types of firefighting foams.