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 has acknowledged that drilling deeper wells is not a good solution. As we have said previously, we do not support any solution that requires the annexation of Township residents in the study area.
Why does Tyco support a municipal water supply?
Where are you in the planning process for the water line?
We have completed the survey of the roads and are in the design phase. Unfortunately, our ability to make progress on this work has been delayed by a Town of Peshtigo official. These delays threaten to add years to the project.
How are you going to keep our water costs the same?
We are working toward a solution that will allow people to pay no more for city water than they have paid for well water.
Are you working with the DNR on the municipal water line solution?
Yes, we have worked with DNR for more than a year on the overall remediation project, including our water line proposal, and we recently completed a remedial action report request by the agency. Additionally, the agency agrees a municipal water line is the best option, stating 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 the agency as this project continues.
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 is your response to the DNR letters recently sent to you?
We are reviewing the DNR’s letters and will discuss them with the agency after we have had a chance to thoroughly review them.
For many years, the City of Marinette has provided permits allowing us to discharge our wastewater into the City’s treatment facility. In turn, the DNR has provided permits to allow the City to distribute biosolids that are created from the treatment process.
Other industrial companies also discharge their wastewater into the City’s facility. Therefore, the biosolids referenced in the DNR’s letters come from a variety of sources, and we have no involvement in the City’s production or distribution of them.
We intend to continue to address issues with the DNR and we look forward to future discussions.
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 Resource 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 aren’t you moving faster?
We moved quickly to provide bottled water, POET filtration systems and, most recently, 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 a ditch running south of our property and are in the process of installing another system at the ditch near the Lutheran Retirement Community.
It takes time to get the necessary 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.
What do you think about recently proposed legislation?
You may have read about new proposals by elected officials regarding 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 exercise 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.
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 1940s. 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 8 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.
What about the ditch near the Lutheran Retirement Community?
We received the final permit to install the water treatment system at this site and the work has begun. We have designed the structure to match the adjacent building and have taken steps to limit noise levels once the structure and system are in place. We estimate the system will be in operation by late summer 2019.
What are you doing about wastewater discharge?
We have voluntarily continued to suspend discharging wastewater that contains firefighting foam to the Marinette wastewater treatment plant and we are evaluating possible options for addressing that wastewater at the fire training and research center location.
What about the biosolids issue?
We recognize the concern with biosolids and we have been working with the City of Peshtigo and the City of Marinette on these issues for some time.
We have reviewed the recent findings from the City of Peshtigo’s biosolids study. We are confident that some of the PFAS detected in Peshtigo’s biosolids come from sources other than Tyco’s foam testing facility. Compounds found in everyday products like stain-resistant fabrics and waterproofing materials were detected. These compounds are not present in Tyco foams.
We are also working with the City of Marinette on this matter. We are in the process of signing the agreement to reimburse the City of Marinette for costs associated with removing biosolids currently filling its storage tanks. Under the agreement, the City will pay the regular costs of removing its biosolids. Tyco has agreed to cover the additional costs associated with the handling and transportation of the biosolids to a landfill site in Oregon. Again, it is important to remember that there are many sources of PFAS. For example, a test of Marinette’s sanitary sewer collection system found PFAS contamination in zones where Tyco’s wastewater does not flow.
We hope to be able to continue working with city officials, the DNR and others in identifying the other sources of PFAS and making sure that we address these issues comprehensively.
What is your plan to provide a long-term drinking water solution?
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. We have examined a number of options available and we believe that connecting Peshtigo residents to a municipal water supply is the best viable option. We will continue to share details about the design and engineering efforts.
Are you resampling the drinking water wells?
With winter finally over, we have started the spring sampling of drinking water wells in the sampling area. We also are continuing to conduct routine testing of the Point of Entry Treatment Systems (POETs).
When will you remediate the fire training and research center site?
We are close to completing the first step: getting the water treatment systems at both ditches in place. 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. We are moving quickly, but thoughtfully to be sure we can put in place a long-term solution at the site.
What has Tyco done for the impacted homes?
We moved quickly to provide bottled water, POET filtration systems and, most recently, 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?
We recognize that our past answers on this topic haven’t been clear enough and we think it’s important to understand the actual timeline about testing we did at our facilities from 2013 to 2017.
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 Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) of both of these 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.
We have addressed the issue by providing bottled water, POET filtration systems and, most recently, by developing plans to connect Peshtigo residents to a municipal water system, which has been shown to have no levels of concern of the 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, and 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 also offered POETs to residents even where testing has shown levels below 70 parts per trillion and also 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?
AFFFs continue to be a vital tool for the military and civilian firefighters. We support legislation and regulations that follow a process that relies on sound science. We also support legislation that a number of states have enacted and that is supported by environmental groups, which allows firefighters to continue to use these foams only for real-world hazardous fires. We are actively researching alternative, next-generation foam technologies that meet the military’s stringent requirements.
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.