Press Release: Gov. Evers Announces Funding Available for Municipalities to Voluntarily Test for PFAS in Drinking Water Supplies

Office of Governor Tony Evers
Gov. Evers Announces Funding Available for Municipalities to Voluntarily Test for PFAS in Drinking Water Supplies
MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers today announced the state will use more than $600,000 in funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help local communities that are interested in sampling municipal water supplies for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)

While sampling is voluntary, communities that choose to sample their municipal waters will have data to know that they are providing safe water to their residents. If a community finds their drinking water supply is impacted by PFAS, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Department of Health Services (DHS) will assist community leaders to leverage all resources available to protect the health of the residents and address the contamination.

“PFAS are dangerous chemicals that we know impact the health and wellbeing of communities all across our state, and we have a shared mission and obligation as local, state, and national leaders to make sure every family has access to clean, healthy drinking water now and for generations to come,” said Gov. Evers. “These funds are a great opportunity for municipalities to take a look at their water supply, learn whether their water is PFAS-impacted, and to work with the DNR and DHS to move forward in remediation for everyone's health and safety.”

PFAS are a group of human-made chemicals used for decades in numerous products, including non-stick cookware, fast food wrappers, stain-resistant sprays, and certain types of firefighting foam. These contaminants have made their way into the environment through spills of PFAS-containing materials, discharges of PFAS-containing wastewater to treatment plants and certain types of firefighting foams. 

PFAS do not break down in the environment and have been discovered at concentrations of concern in groundwater, surface water, and drinking water across Wisconsin. PFAS are known to bioaccumulate in the tissues of fish and wildlife. They also accumulate in the human body and pose several risks to human health. 

The Wisconsin PFAS Action Council (WisPAC) recommended sampling of municipal drinking water systems in the Wisconsin PFAS Action Plan. The governor’s 2021-23 proposed budget included significant investments in drinking water sampling and resources for impacted communities. 

The DNR is reaching out directly to all eligible utilities with more information. The agency’s website will continue to be updated with the latest developments and opportunities related to this voluntary sampling project.

“We are committed to ensuring everyone in Wisconsin has access to safe drinking water,” said DNR Secretary Preston D. Cole. “This is an exciting opportunity for community leaders to know their waters are safe or to get connected to the resources to mitigate contamination.”  

The DNR and DHS are actively developing state drinking water standards for several PFAS compounds, including 20 parts per trillion (ppt) for the sum of PFOA and PFOS. The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board is expected to consider adoption of state standards for PFAS compounds in drinking water, surface water, and groundwater at their upcoming board meeting on Feb. 23, 2022. More information about PFAS in Wisconsin is available on the DNR’s website here.