Since 2017, Tyco has been working tirelessly to respond to the presence of PFAS that emanated from our Fire Technology Center (FTC) property. We have spent millions of dollars on the effort, an indication of both the scale and complexity of the project. It’s to be expected, therefore, that from time to time, misleading or incorrect information enters into the public discussion about our work. We have added this section to our website to address such misunderstandings.
Test data shows that little or no PFAS is present in most drinking water wells.
Throughout the duration of the project, we have tested a total of 269 wells in the Town of Peshtigo and near certain farm fields in Porterfield, where the City of Marinette allowed biosolids to be spread. Only 8% of all wells tested had PFAS presence above the federal health advisory level (HAL), while only 6% of wells tested above the Wisconsin HAL.
A health advisory limit means that during their lifetime, a person could drink countless glasses of water containing PFOA and PFOS up to the limit without risking illness. The U.S. EPA has also not found that these compounds cause any human illness at concentrations above 70 parts per trillion (ppt) and the same is true regarding the Wisconsin Department of Health and its recommended standard of 20 ppt.
Tyco is working to give Peshtigo residents a say in finding a permanent solution to clean drinking water.
Tyco is fully participating with the WDNR’s request to conduct a survey of residents, asking them what they think the best solution would be for a permanent solution to clean drinking water. We are working with local officials to develop the survey and look forward to distributing it once we have all the input from the numerous parties that have requested to review and sign off on the right questions to ask.
Tyco is not solely responsible for the presence of PFAS in the community.
There are many other parties responsible for the biosolids matter, as the data makes clear. There are additional responsible parties given that, for years, many other companies – some of which use PFAS in their products – sent wastewater to local treatment facilities. The data we collected from the sewage lines that run into the City of Marinette supports this conclusion, and we have provided data to the WDNR that clearly indicates this fact.
We also recently finished an extensive evaluation of the groundwater in the area south of the current boundaries of the site investigation area, known as the “Southern Area,” and submitted a report with our data and analysis to the WDNR. The report concludes that the low levels of PFAS in the Southern Area are not a result of our firefighting foam used at the FTC. The types of PFAS detected in FTC-impacted groundwater share consistent characteristics that are distinctly different from the PFAS in groundwater that is associated with our FTC. Additionally, after reviewing the geological makeup of the area, including how groundwater and surface water flows from one location to another, it is clear that it is not plausible that PFAS from the FTC could have migrated from the property to the Southern Area.
The important point here is that PFAS is not just a Marinette or Peshtigo issue: this is an issue affecting many areas in Wisconsin, as shown by the WDNR’s recent PFAS findings in the Milwaukee area. It is affecting so many areas because PFAS has been used in a number of many common household and industrial products for decades, including carpeting, upholstery, clothing, food packaging, metal finishing, paper manufacturing and many others.
Where the data demonstrates that Tyco is responsible, we have taken responsibility, quickly and voluntarily. Where it does not, we have asked the WDNR to identify the actual responsible party or parties, so that the problem can be addressed at the source. Until that process starts, this community will never get the compressive solution that it needs.
Tyco is taking voluntary actions to provide a long-term supply of clean water and remediate the situation.
Although we have actively cooperated with governmental agencies, our most important actions have been voluntary. First and foremost, immediately after discovering that drinking wells in Peshtigo were affected, we moved quickly to offer bottled water and temporary in-home water treatment systems (POETs) to affected residents, without any requirement that we do so.
We also moved quickly to install a state-of-the-art filtration system at Ditch A on our property. This system is a critical step in stopping the continued spread of PFAS into groundwater by treating and removing compounds before they leave our property and thereby cutting off the main source of groundwater contamination to the south of our property.
In September 2019, we shot and narrated a short tour of the water treatment system at Ditch A. We wanted to give residents an opportunity to see how it operates, as well as some of the work that went into this part of the project. The video is available here →
Additional actions include suspending all foam wastewater discharges to the City of Marinette wastewater treatment plant since March 2019, providing the City of Peshtigo the expertise and a donation to test and dispose of their biosolids (even though we had no input to those biosolids, some of which have subsequently been spread in Porterfield), giving $3 million to the City of Marinette to dispose of their biosolids and spending $1 million to prevent future PFAS infiltration into wastewater flowing from the FTC into the City of Marinette sewage facility.
Tyco voluntarily committed to paying for the full cost of the construction of the pipeline connection at a resident town hall in March 2019. At the time, we estimated that this would cost at approximately $10 million
Tyco has immediately and voluntarily made bottled water available to affected residents.
Beginning in 2017, we offered bottled water to every resident in the affected area in Peshtigo, regardless of detections, and POET systems to any resident with PFAS detection (whether above or below the HAL) within the study area. This is an agreement we’ve honored since inception.
Once we began testing wells near the 61 fields identified by the WDNR in Porterfield, homeowners whose wells tested above the Wisconsin HAL (20 ppt) were contacted by Tyco and immediately, and voluntarily offered bottled water. Simultaneously, Tyco informed the WDNR of the results and the offer of bottled water to the impacted residents.
This has been our practice and we have not deviated from it.
Local waterways always contain foam, including foam that is not manmade, or containing PFAS.
As the WDNR has clearly acknowledged, and as has been publicly reported, foam can be created by a variety of natural events and the presence of foam does not necessarily mean the foam is firefighting foam, or manmade in any way. In fact, the WDNR states on its website that, “The movement of wind and waves on lakes, and turbulence in rivers and streams can naturally create foam that floats on top of the water or accumulates along the shore.”
As the EagleHerald also reported, “In November 2019, WDNR Environmental Division Administrator Darsi Foss pointed out that, based on testing and appearance, PFAS foams and naturally-occurring foams can be very similar in appearance.”
Tyco’s FTC remediation project must remain science-based and data-driven, which takes time.
The reality is that this is a project that must remain science-based and data-driven, which takes time. In cooperation with the WDNR, we will be conducting additional testing and an investigation of the FTC property to ensure we have a full understanding of what areas may need to be remediated, as well as the appropriate tools and resources to fully resolve the issue.
We are moving quickly, but thoughtfully. In order to put in place a long-term solution, we need to have an accurate depiction of the issue before we can work with the WDNR to get an approved plan in place to address it.