MON AM News: State regulators looking to combat groundwater contamination; Ag groups praising Pfaff

— State regulators are looking at new ways to combat groundwater contamination in Wisconsin, focusing on nitrates as well as lesser-known PFAS.

We are on the beginning of our scientific journey with PFAS, said Darsi Foss, a division administrator for the DNR. We know a lot about nitrates. We know a lot about geology and how nitrates move But PFAS were just learning about.

At Fridays H20 Policy Summit in Green Bay hosted by U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher and Rep. Joel Kitchens, Foss told attendees the CDC and other federal and state agencies are conducting studies across the country on the impacts of PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. 

These are present in a number of commercial products including firefighting foam and non-stick pan coatings and have been found in groundwater as well as public water systems.

Nitrates, on the other hand, accumulate naturally in groundwater when nitrogen combines with oxygen or ozone. Excess nitrogen can come from farming, septic systems and other sources. Both nitrates and PFAS have been linked to serious health problems in humans and animals.

We are facing a number of water quality issues around the state, DNR Secretary Preston Cole (pictured here) said. Some of those include legacy contaminants affecting our Great Lakes, persistent contaminants like nitrates in wells, lead laterals contributing to elevated lead levels in homes, schools and daycares, and emerging contaminants like PFAS.

In January, Gov. Tony Evers declared 2019 the year of clea....

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