Skip to main content
You are the owner of this article.
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit
City believes additional PFAS found on French Island unrelated to airport, asks for more state aid
breaking alert featured

City believes additional PFAS found on French Island unrelated to airport, asks for more state aid

  • 0
{{featured_button_text}}
Campbell water distribution

Town of Campbell resident Doug Darelius demonstrates Thursday at Olivet Lutheran Church as bottled water, donated by Kwik Trip, is distributed to town residents in the wake of a temporary drinking water advisory being issued by the state.

Local officials announced Wednesday that they believe the additional PFAS contaminations being discovered on French Island are likely unrelated to the La Crosse Regional Airport.

La Crosse Mayor Tim Kabat spoke of the new development in the PFAS crisis during a Wednesday video conference after a meeting with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

The city revealed earlier this year that around 100 private drinking water wells on French Island had been contaminated with PFAS, a “forever chemical” believed to have originated from firefighting foam required to be used at airports, including La Crosse’s. But more investigation has found that additional wells, outside of the city’s original scope, are also contaminated, possibly by another source, officials said.

“It’s clear by the results ... that there is something else going on besides firefighting foam at the La Crosse Regional Airport,” Kabat said.

He said the determination was based on groundwater and storm water patterns.

“The results that are west and south of the airport, they do not fit the groundwater flow or storm water flow,” Kabat said. “There is no scientific explanation for how PFAS would move from the airport to those areas, especially far west and far south. The science does not support that. It’s coming from somewhere else.”

He said other sources of contamination haven’t been identified.

“We don’t want to speculate what the other sources might be,” Kabat said.

The state issued a water advisory for all of the town of Campbell last week and is offering free bottled water to anyone on the island who needs it as they investigate the contamination further. Officials from the town of Campbell and La Crosse County were also part of the DNR meeting.

“Our meeting was very positive,” Kabat said. “I believe all parties involved pledged to work together.”

Kabat said the ultimate solution is to hold PFAS manufacturers accountable. He said Minnesota and Michigan have been “very aggressive” in pursuing the manufacturers and urged Wisconsin to “step in and show leadership.”

Support Local Journalism

Your membership makes our reporting possible.
{{featured_button_text}}
Campbell water distribution

Town of Campbell personnel including Neal McGough with Campbell Fire Department distribute bottled water to residents Thursday at Olivet Lutheran Church on French Island. A temporary drinking water advisory has been issued for the island due to concerns over PFAS contamination in private wells.

“The city can no longer tackle alone what is becoming an increasingly regional issue. The state’s resources, expertise and coordination are necessary to protect the citizens of Wisconsin,” Kabat said in the statement prior to the news conference.

“We have made this our highest priority and will continue to do so, but we can no longer do it ourselves. We have been solely addressing and bearing the steep costs of this issue for several years. It’s time for the state to step in with a wholistic approach to this serious problem,” he said.

Kabat’s request to the state and DNR were “echoed” by La Crosse County Board of Supervisors chair Monica Kruse, the statement said.

Kabat said he asked the state for more testing, investigation and drinking water.

Campbell water distribution

HyVee employees distribute bottled water the company donated Thursday to Town of Campbell residents on French Island. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Health Services has issued a drinking water advisory for the island due to concerns over PFAS contamination in private wells.

He said the city is still in the process of preparing a PFAS waiver request with the Federal Aviation Administration, which mandates use of the chemical as a fire extinguisher. He said the process is complicated by identifying a substitute for PFAS.

“We have pretty much pulled that together, but it’s not as simple as just drafting a letter and requesting it,” Kabat said. “I would fully expect that should go out relatively soon.”

The airport is bordered by the Mississippi and Black rivers, and Kabat said PFAS has been found in both bodies of water.

Kabat said the DNR is looking to schedule another public information meeting in April.

Campbell water distribution

Reserve officer Taylor Rakes with the Town of Campbell Police and other town personnel, distribute bottled water to residents Thursday at Olivet Lutheran Church on French Island. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Health Services has issued a temporary drinking water advisory for the island due to concerns over PFAS contamination in private wells.

"It's clear by the results ... that there is something else going on besides firefighting foam at the La Crosse Regional Airport. ... We don't want to speculate what the other sources might be."

Mayor Tim Kabat

Quote
0
0
0
0
0

Be the first to know

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Tomah Journal editor

Steve Rundio is editor of the Tomah Journal. Contact him at 608-374-7785.

Related to this story

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

News Alerts

Breaking News