Update on groundwater testing for PFAS

Published: Jan. 21, 2021 at 6:59 PM CST
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Groundwater testing for PFAS continues for some La Crosse County community members.

The city says the primary source for the contamination comes from a plane crash on the north end of the airport back in 2001, where the firefighting foam was used.

The foam contained PFAS, a chemical used in firefighting foam since the 1970s for practice drills and emergencies.

Since we first brought you this story last week, the City of La Crosse in partnership with groundwater geologist John Storlie and environmental consulting firm The OS Group have tested 122 wells in the targeted sampling areas south of the airport and three additional wells nearby.

They’re also investigating a PFAS hotspot heading towards I-90 at the French Island interchange heading towards the Black River. Mayor Tim Kabat says he hopes to explore more water supply options for the future.

“Our hope is that there can be some reassuring of the public that yes, these are very serious, we take this very serious,” said Kabat. “We have acted very quickly to get safe, bottled water to those residents.”

Kabat and Storlie say moving forward, a permanent solution may be bringing a municipal water system to the island, but until that can happen, they’re looking into a temporary fix of possibly bringing water filtration systems to area residents.

Kabat says the temporary fix may be available later this year.

However, a permanent municipal water supply option may not happen until sometime next year.

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