DNR targets Air National Guard for use of firefighting foam at Truax

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is threatening legal action against the Wisconsin Air National Guard, claiming the 115th Fighter Wing’s use of firefighting foam at Truax Field has caused contamination to Madison’s water supply.

Environmental regulators say they will file suit against the Guard if it does not move quickly to remediate the toxic chemicals believed to be contained in the foam, including a group of synthetic compounds known as PFAS, according to an article in the Wisconsin State Journal.

The chemicals, which are linked to cancer and other diseases, have been found in a municipal well located about a mile from Dane County Regional Airport, where Truax Field is situated. Significant levels of PFAS were found in Starkweather Creek.

DNR concerns, which were outlined in an Oct. 31 letter to Maj. Gen. Donald Dunbar, is considered the first step in an enforcement process.

The letter comes as the U.S. Air Force is approaching a decision on where to base new F-35 aircraft. The 115th Fighter Wing is one of two preferred sites recommended in a basing study, but strong public testimony about noise and other potential impacts could threaten the basing decision.

Cleanup of the contamination was not addressed in the Air Force’s preliminary environmental impact study, which was released in August.