Regulation of PFAS compounds is quickly moving forward in Wisconsin at both the legislative, gubernatorial, and administrative rule levels.
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (given the acronyms PFOA and PFOS and collectively referred to as PFAS) are a group of man-made chemicals that have properties allowing them to repel both water and oil. PFAS have been manufactured and used in a variety of industries around the globe, including in the United States since the 1940s. PFAS is a substance frequently found in firefighting foam, fast-food wrappers, non-stick cookware, and water-proof clothing.
PFAS is very persistent in the environment and in the human body – meaning they don’t break down and they can accumulate over time. There is evidence that exposure to PFAS can lead to adverse human health effects. According to Governor Evers, PFAS have been detected in several counties, cities, villages and towns throughout the state, including in the drinking, ground and surface water and in tissue and blood of fish and wildlife.
Public Sector PFAS Group. The League has helped create a Public Sector PFAS Coalition consisting of groups representing municipal water and wastewater utilities. The group’s goals are to advocate collaboratively for science-based PFAS standards, educate the public about PFAS, and communicate our concerns to DNR, the Legislature, and the Governor’s office about the potential high cost to municipal utilities of complying with the proposed PFAS ground water standards. Groups participating in the Public Sector PFAS Coalition include Municipal Environmental Group (MEG) – Wastewater, which represents 100 large municipal wastewater utilities, MEG -- Water, which represents large city municipal water utilities, and Wisconsin Rural Water Association.
PFAS background information and talking points are posted on the League's website,
Governor's PFAS Executive Order. On August 22, Governor Evers issued an executive order instructing state agencies to address water contamination from PFAS.
The Executive Order calls for the following actions by state agencies:
--Establish a website to inform the public about PFAS and the risk these chemicals pose to public health and the environment.
--Collaborate with municipalities and wastewater treatment plants on screening programs to identify potential sources of PFAS into the environment.
--Expand monitoring of PFAS in the development of fish and other wildlife consumption advisories.
--Develop regulatory standards for PFAS contamination.
--Create the PFAS Coordinating Council, which will be comprised of officials from various state agencies and be staffed by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and charged with developing a multi-agency PFAS action plan for the state.
to read the executive order.