Vast majority of tested wells find PFAS levels below Federal health guideline

Under the supervision of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR), Tyco began testing drinking water wells in Marinette County in 2017 for the presence of PFAS. So far, 269 wells have been tested in the Town of Peshtigo and near certain farm fields in Porterfield where the City of Marinette permitted biosolids to be spread. Of these wells, 247 tested below the established Federal Health Advisory Level and 22 tested above it.

Currently, there are no Federal or Wisconsin regulatory or statutory standards for the presence of PFOA or PFOS – two types PFAS – in drinking water. In 2016, the Obama Administration created a guideline called a Health Advisory Level (HAL) of 70 parts per trillion (ppt). The State of Wisconsin created a groundwater advisory level of 20 ppt in 2019.

Using the Federal HAL as a guideline, a person could drink an unlimited number of glasses of water daily, containing PFOA and PFOS levels up to 70 ppt, without risking illness. No government agency has found that these compounds cause any human illness at concentrations above 70 ppt.

The following table shows the findings from all 269 PFAS tests done to date. Of that total, 231 (86%) revealed little or no PFAS; 22 wells (8%) had levels above the Federal HAL; and 16 were above the WDNR groundwater advisory level (6%).

  Groundwater Biosolid Total % of Total
Non-detect 111 74 185 69%
0-20 ppt 29 17 46 17%
20-70ppt 13 3 16 6%
70+ppt 18 4 22 8%
Total 171 98 269 100%