Water samples taken near Tyco Fire Products’ training facility in Marinette, Wisconsin, indicate elevated levels of man-made chemicals such as PFAS and PFOA linked to adverse health outcomes in animals.
A press release issued by Tyco states that drinking water of nearby residents is not affected “but those results are disappointing and not acceptable to us.”
“The current situation at Ditch B is not up to our standards as an environmental leader and we will do everything we can to resolve it quickly,” the releases states.
Tyco provided the sampling results to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Friday.
Samples were taken approximately 10 feet downstream of the Ditch A and the Ditch B treatment systems. Results for Ditch B indicated polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in concentrations of 1,000 parts per trillion for PFOA and 73 ppt for PFOS.
The state’s recommended limit is about 20 ppt for PFOA and PFOS, according to the WDNR.
Analysis of the Ditch A sample indicated concentrations of 6.9 ppt for PFOA and 6.2 for PFOS. A sample taken from nearby Green Bay showed 13 ppt for PFOA and 4.2 ppt for PFOS.
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made chemicals used for decades in products such as non-stick cookware, fast food wrapers, stain-resistant sprays and certain types of firefighting form.
By eating or drinking food or water that contain PFAS the chemical is absorbed and stays in the body for long periods of time. PFAS can also accumulate in the body to the point of a causing health problems.
The most consistent findings from human epidemiology studies are increased cholesterol levels. Studies indicate the PFAS can cause reproductive and developmental, liver and kidney, and immunological effects in laboratory animals.
Tyco reports that past testing at the Ditch B location has produced results at a non-detectable level.
“This year and last have been some of the wettest on record in Wisconsin,” the Tyco release states. “Simply put, while the Ditch B system is filtering PFOA and PFOS as designed, these extreme conditions have been wreaking havoc by producing more water than the system can handle.”
The Ditch B system can handle up to 450 gallons per minute typically, with a surge rate of 600 gallons per minute, the WDNR release states. This summer, the flow rate of the ditch has been about 1,700 gallons per minute.
Firefighting foam were mixed and tested at the Marinette facility from 1962 to 2017.