Evers administration asks for new PFAS regulations

Gov. Tony Evers’ administration is again requesting permission from state environmental officials to develop limits on a group of chemicals known as PFAS in Wisconsin groundwater.

According to a report from the Associated Press, officials from the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) are scheduled to ask the agency’s policy board on Dec. 14 for permission to start drafting numeric standards for four types of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in groundwater.

While the Evers administration controls the DNR, conservatives control the policy board. The members adopted limits on PFAS in surface and drinking water earlier this year but killed the agency’s proposal to set groundwater limits amid concerns that the cost of drilling new wells and installing treatment systems could cost businesses, wastewater plants, and paper mills millions of dollars. The move left well water in Wisconsin unregulated for PFAS.

Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, the state’s largest business association, the Wisconsin Paper Council, Midwest Food Products Association, and the Wisconsin Civil Justice Council Inc. have all asked the DNR to stop work on groundwater limits and wait for the EPA to impose federal standards. However, several Wisconsin communities are grappling with PFAS contamination in their groundwater, including Marinette, Madison, Wausau, and the towns of Peshtigo and Campbell.