Town of Brockway water supply tests for high PFAS levels

Published: May. 3, 2023 at 6:16 PM CDT
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JACKSON COUNTY, Wis. (WEAU) - Leadership with the town of Brockway are advising residents to limit their water consumption.

That is because water from the two wells the town uses tested positive for PFAS.

“Brockway Sanitary District recently sampled for PFAS for the first time. They had PFAS detected in both their wells above the Wisconsin health standard,” said Brian Pietz with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. “PFAS are a family of chemicals that are used mainly for non-stick, non-stain, or water-proof coatings. They’re also used in fire fighting foams.”

Pietz attended a town hall meeting with other town leaders Wednesday afternoon discussing a plan on how to communicate directly with affected residents about the water situation.

“The PFAS only became a containment concern in the past few years. So, this is new testing for municipalities in Wisconsin,” said Pietz.

Water testing was voluntary for Wisconsin communities but now municipalities with a population between 500 and 10,000 residents are required this quarter to test their water for PFAS.

The chemicals are known as “forever chemicals” that cannot be boiled out of water, Pietz said there are ways to purify affected water.

“PFAS can be removed by using granular activated carbon filters or an R O system for a house if they are concerned. They can also seek an alternate source of water,” said Pietz.

The Ho-Chunk Nation is receiving alternate water sources, as water bottles are being distributed to affected tribe members.

“I cook with it because I boil it, I don’t mind it. But I don’t have nobody drink water at my house, it’s all bottled water. But I buy water,” said Martina Littlewolf, she drove to the distribution site to get water from the tribe. “This helps. But I buy my water every week. I stock up on water. In the Town of Brockway there’s a lot of people, a lot of children.”

Brockway leadership says residents that are impacted by PFAS will be notified by mail in the coming days.

There will also be another town hall meeting on May 10th at 5:45 p.m. at the Brockway Town Hall.