Statement from the Office of Mayor Rhodes-Conway Regarding PFAS Testing Results from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in Starkweather Creek
Tuesday, October 8, 2019 - 9:32am
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) released results of surface water testing for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that they conducted along Starkweather Creek and four other locations statewide. The City wants to inform the public that the following steps are being taken to address this ongoing issue.
- The City of Madison has repeatedly requested that the Air National Guard conduct a complete site investigation into the extent and magnitude of soil and groundwater PFAS contamination on the Truax base. The City will again repeat this request—that the site investigation be completed and that a remedial action plan be implemented as soon as possible.
- The results of this initial round of PFAS testing in Starkweather Creek do not impact the safety of Madison’s drinking water. Madison’s wells draw water from a deep sandstone aquifer below the city, not from surface water. Madison Water Utility hopes to receive results from PFAS testing of the city’s seasonal wells (wells used primarily in the summer and fall) this week, including Well 8, which is located near the creek.
- Fish tissue samples from the Starkweather Creek outlet to Lake Monona are currently being tested for PFAS with results expected in the spring of 2020. Residents and visitors to Madison should continue to follow the fish consumption advisory from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in place for PCBs and mercury. The advisory recommends limiting fish consumption for children under 15 and women who are breastfeeding, pregnant, or may become pregnant. The City is also increasing signage related to PFAS contamination and fish advisories around Starkweather Creek.
- Residents can take action to protect themselves from PFAS and other contaminants while using Madison’s waterways:
- Follow the Dane County fish consumption advisories.
- Avoid drinking or accidentally swallowing the water.
- Wash your hands after wading or playing in the water.
- Do not let your pet drink the creek water and rinse pets after contact with the water to avoid them licking PFAS that may be on their fur.
- As the City continues to monitor surface and drinking water for PFAS, it is important to note that thousands of PFAS chemicals are in production across the world and people are exposed to these chemicals in a number of ways. To reduce PFAS exposure:
- Check product labels for ingredients that include the words "fluoro" or "perfluoro."
- Be aware of packaging for foods that contain grease-repellent coatings. Examples include microwave popcorn bags and fast food wrappers and boxes.
- Avoid stain-resistance treatments. Choose furniture and carpets that aren’t marketed as “stain-resistant,” and don’t apply finishing treatments to these or other items. Choose alternatives to clothing that has been treated for water or stain resistance, such as outerwear and sportswear, luggage, and camping and sporting equipment.
- Avoid or reduce use of non-stick cookware and stop using products if non-stick coatings show signs of deterioration.
- The City will continue to work with all parties to protect public health, and requests that the Wisconsin DNR conduct additional testing to identify PFAS sources.
- Christie Baumel, (608) 266-4611
- Sarah Mattes, (608) 242-6414