TOWN OF CAMPBELL, Wis. (WKBT)- The Wisconsin DNR is holding a listening session on June 16th to provide an update to the Town of Campbell families who’s drinking water is contaminated with PFAS.
In March, the DNR issued an interim, area wide drinking water advisory and has been providing free bottled water to more than 11-hundred families, but unclear how long that free water will last.
The two wells that provide water to War-Leh Manor are contaminated with high levels of PFAS. The group of man-made compounds were used to manufacturer many products; including the firefighting foam sprayed at the La Crosse Regional Airport. Exposure to high amounts of is linked to infertility, thyroid disease and cancer. “That same day I went on the DNR website and filled out a form for each one of our eighteen residents signed up to get the free water, ” explains Executive Director of the La Crosse County Housing Authority Patrick Dienger.
The City of La Crosse has taken responsibility for some of the contamination and is providing water to some families. According to the interim site report it submitted to the DNR, the city claims there is another source of PFAS contamination. The report did not name another source. The DNR is investigating. The agency is also providing bottled water to any residence the City is not; including War-Leh Manor. But, the DNR has only promised to supply that water for six months. If its water program eds, the costs could shift to well owners. “I’ve already done the math for the water. To continue it will cost us about $8,000 a year, ” says Dienger.
The La Crosse County Housing Authority will pick up the tab at War-Leh Manor. County Board Chair Monica Kruse says La Crosse County is working on a contingency plan to help everyone else. “Absolutely, yes, we will help. Especially at places like War-Leh. We feel an obligation to make sure they have safe drinking water, ” says Kruse.
More than 500 Town of Campbell wells have tested positive for PFAS. The DNR is reviewing those results with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. The two agencies will decide how long to provide water. They could make a decision as soon as this month.
Bottled water is only a temporary solution. The Town of Campbell will need a permanent source of clean drinking water. The town board is weighing it’s options and possible sources of funding.
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