Frequently Asked Questions

We have updated the frequently asked questions to better address the common questions about the project and clarify our answers in a transparent manner.

What is the status of your work?

We recommend checking the Latest Updates section of the website for the most up-to-date information about the project. You can also access the latest technical work plans through the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) website. You will need to enter 0238580694 into the activity number section of the search form. Please contact us at 715-582-7100 if you have any problems accessing the site or viewing the material.

Why does Tyco support a municipal water supply?

A municipal water supply is the best solution because it provides a long-term, sustainable and reliable water supply for residents in the study area. The DNR, the Town of Peshtigo’s expert consultants and Tyco’s expert consultants all agree that a deep will system is not viable.

There are varieties of practical factors that demonstrate the City of Marinette’s water is the best source of clean drinking water for the future. For example, the nearest connection to the City of Peshtigo’s water line is five miles farther than the City of Marinette’s connections. That is a substantial distance to cover, and it would require overcoming a number of significant regulatory hurdles and the laying of at least five additional miles of pipe, which would need to cross several miles of town, county and possibly state roads, as well as a railroad and wetlands.

Where are you in the planning process for the water line?

We are doing everything we can to move forward and prevent delays because we want to provide residents with a permanent and sustainable solution as soon as possible. We want to move forward with this plan quickly. Our goal is to have construction complete and operational in 2020.

We are continuing our discussions with leaders and residents in the Town of Peshtigo about the best way to provide a long-term, safe and reliable water supply.

How are you going to keep our water costs the same?

There is a lot that needs to be worked out by the community and its elected leaders. We are working toward a solution that will allow people to pay no more for city water than they have paid for well water. We don’t want anyone’s water bill to go up.

Are you working with the DNR on the municipal water line solution?

The DNR agrees with us that the best solution for a permanent source of clean drinking water is option to a community water supply. In fact, they stated in a recent letter to us, “It is the DNR’s position that a public (municipal) water source offers the best regulated, safest and most reliable drinking water for consumers, current and future.” We will continue to work cooperatively with DNR, DHS and officials in both the City of Marinette and the Town of Peshtigo on plans going forward.

What was in the remedial action report submitted to the DNR?

It was an initial plan evaluating different options available for a long-term drinking water supply.

What specifically are you doing about the biosolids issue?

On November 15, Tyco Fire Products submitted a robust and detailed site investigation work plan in response to the DNR’s request. This plan complies with the DNR’s requests and outlines the essential first stage in developing a comprehensive solution to the biosolids issue.

We want to expedite this matter in a scientific, data-driven manner – and the approach we have taken here is best and standard practice followed by regulators across the country, including the EPA and the DNR itself. You can read the letter here and review the full plan here.

What is your response to the DNR letters recently sent to you?

We have been speaking with the DNR for some time now, and recently submitted a robust and detailed site investigation work plan in response to the DNR’s request.

As we have discussed with them on a number of occasions, the DNR is required to identify other potential sources of contamination. They know this is a requirement because they are following this approach elsewhere, including in the Madison area. This necessary first step is the only way a comprehensive plan can be put in place that addresses all potential sources of contamination in this area.

Does your response comply with the DNR’s non-compliance request?

Yes, our response complies with the DNR’s request. It follows the process that the DNR and other regulatory agencies use to address these sorts of issues, and this first stage is necessary to address the issues in the previous letter. The DNR has data that shows there are other sources. We need to know where any detected PFAS are coming from.

Not only does the DNR have a legal responsibility to conduct this testing, it is the best, scientifically sound approach to solving the issue. It will help protect residents and others in the area from any other sources not yet identified.

You can read the letter here and review the full plan here.

Why did you take a phased approach to the work plan submission?

Our approach is rooted in the best science, and it’s one followed elsewhere in the state and country by the EPA, the DNR and other regulatory agencies when dealing with these matters. It also helps the DNR follow their obligations under state law at no cost to the agency and taxpayers.

Why should the DNR identify other responsible parties?

We could be leaving potential sources of contamination in the environment. This is about finding the other sources of contamination, which is also the accepted approach by the EPA, the DNR and other regulatory and scientific agencies.

The DNR has data that PFAS compounds are coming from other sources unrelated to Tyco and our firefighting foam. The DNR has a legal responsibility under Wisconsin law to identify those sources. The community also has a right to know where they are coming from so they are protected.

Why aren’t you moving faster?

It takes time to get the necessary governmental approvals for this work and some require permits from multiple agencies. It is also critical that we have the appropriate data and evidence to guide our work. We have to be thoughtful in our approach so we get this right. That will take some time and we are committed to providing you updates and answers when we are able.

We moved quickly to provide bottled water or in-home water treatment systems (POETS) to all affected households where measurable PFAS levels were detected. We continue working to develop plans to connect Peshtigo residents to a municipal water system, which has been shown to have no levels of concern of the compounds. We have also installed a water treatment system at the ditch running south of our property and are in the process of installing another system at the ditch near the Lutheran Retirement Community.

What products have PFAS?

PFAS are a group of man-made compounds that have been manufactured and used in a variety of industries around the globe since the 1950s. PFAS can be found in many common products, such as food packages and wrappers, stain- and water-repellent fabrics and clothing, nonstick products, polishes, waxes, paints, cleaners and firefighting foams.

What are you doing about the ditch running south of your property?

We have installed a water treatment system at this location and, to date, more than 25 million gallons of water have been successfully treated. All samples taken at the filtration site have shown that the system is very effective at removing PFAS from this location.

A few members of our team recently shot some video and narrated a short tour of the Fire Technology Center water treatment system to give residents an opportunity to see how they operate, as well as some of the work that went into this part of the project. Watch the video here.

What about the ditch near the Lutheran Retirement Community?

The first week of November, we completed 5 months of construction and began officially operating a surface water treatment system at a location near the Northland Lutheran Retirement Community between West Bay Shore Drive and Pine Beach Road. This technology will treat and remove PFOA and PFOS compounds from the waterbody, known as “Ditch B”.

When will you remediate the Fire Technology Center (FTC) site?

We have completed the first step: getting the water treatment systems at both ditches in place. At the end of last year, we completed construction and installation of a system at Ditch A, which has treated over 25 million gallons of water to date. A similar treatment system at Ditch B, near the Northland Lutheran Retirement Community, is now fully operational.

We have completed an initial round of testing at the FTC site, which has allowed us to identify the area that we believe needs to be remediated. However, there is additional testing and planning that now needs to be done using the right tools and resources to resolve the issue. Our next step will be to evaluate available options and collect additional data so that we can have an accurate picture of the issue, and then can work with the Department of Natural Resources to get an approved plan in place for addressing it. That work will take some time and we expect to have more clarity on the timeline after winter, and when we have conducted more testing.

We are moving quickly, but thoughtfully to be sure we can put in place a long-term solution at the site.

Are you resampling the drinking water wells?

We have been testing drinking water wells seasonally and will continue to test on the appropriate frequency in coordination with the DNR. We also have been testing other locations, such as groundwater and surface water and will soon be testing fish in certain areas in cooperation with the DNR.

What has Tyco done for the impacted homes?

We moved quickly to provide bottled water or in-home water treatment systems (POETS) to all affected households where measurable PFAS levels were detected. We continue working to develop plans to connect Peshtigo residents to a municipal water system, which has been shown to have no levels of concern of the compounds. Our highest priority is to ensure that residents of Marinette and Peshtigo have clean and safe drinking water.

Is it true you first saw readings for PFOS and PFOA as far back as 2013 and 2014?

In late 2013, we detected PFAS chemicals at the center of our 380-acre property in Marinette. Our personnel studied the issue and discussed it with outside consultants. Based on the topography, the nature of the compounds and other factors, they believed the issue to be confined to our property. We did not have any reason to believe that these compounds were affecting drinking water in the community.

In 2016, further testing revealed the presence of these compounds near our property boundary, and we notified the DNR of both the results and the testing from 2013. In 2017, in conjunction with the DNR and local officials, we conducted testing in certain drinking water wells in Peshtigo, and found that although most of the wells tested did not contain PFAS compounds, some did.

Since that time, we have moved rapidly to address this issue, including by providing bottled water, or in-home water treatment systems (POETS) to all affected households where measurable PFAS levels were detected. Additionally, we have plans to connect Peshtigo residents to Marinette’s municipal water system, which tests have shown to be free of these compounds.

What do you think about recently proposed legislation about how firefighting foam is used?

Firefighting foam saves lives and property, and we support legislation that allows firefighters to continue to use these foams to fight live fires. We also support legislation that prevents the use foam during training exercises and we offer training foams that do not contain PFAS compounds for such exercises. Finally, we support efforts to fully fund robust scientific research into PFAS compounds.

Do other states have stronger PFAS regulations?

Other states may have different levels, most of which are only proposed or advisory, but the state of Wisconsin doesn’t have its own standard yet. Similar to several other states’ approaches and in accordance with DNR and DHS guidance, we are following the EPA’s health advisory level, which is set at 70 parts per trillion. If advisory levels are promulgated or changed, we will act accordingly in cooperation with the DNR and DHS.

We have provided bottled water or in-home water treatment systems (POETS) to all affected households where measurable PFAS levels were detected. Additionally, we have plans to connect all Peshtigo residents in the well sampling program– regardless of the level detected in testing — to a municipal water system, which has been shown to have no levels of concern of the compounds.

Why not end production of foam?

We continue to make these foams according to the military’s stringent requirements because the military and other industries need these products to save lives and protect property.

AFFFs are the most effective agents currently available to fight high-hazard flammable liquid fires. These foams rapidly extinguish and form a seal over a fire. The foam barrier cools the fire and prevents the release of toxic and flammable vapors that could reignite. AFFFs are a critical fire suppression tool for ships, military installations, civilian airports, petroleum refineries, manufacturing plants, municipal fire departments and other operations involving the handling of flammable liquids.

How will this issue affect my property value?

We can’t speculate on property value. Our goal is to provide a long-term solution to safe drinking water to impacted homes.

Are deer and fish safe to eat?

For information or questions on this topic, we recommend you contact the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.