Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers has signed a bill regulating firefighting foams which contain PFAS. The chemicals are found in many products, but the foam is a major source of contamination. Once in the water supply, the chemical compounds don’t break down. That can result in the human health issues, and damage to the ecosystems they contaminate.
Representative John Nygren of Marinette (R-Marinette) authored the bill and noted PFAS contamination of groundwater is a serious issue in northeastern Wisconsin and elsewhere.
Today I am proud to announce that the bill that I authored with @SenRobCowles (R-Green Bay) to curb the use of firefighting foam containing PFAS was signed into law by @GovEvers. He called this a “good bill that will help the people of Wisconsin”.
— John Nygren (@rep89) February 5, 2020
The new regulations generally prohibit using and training with firefighting foams containing intentionally-added PFAS. First responders may still use the foam in emergency firefighting or fire prevention. The foam could also be used in certain testing activities, but only with appropriate containment, treatment, disposal and storage methods, as determined by rule by the DNR.
The Department of Natural Resources is asking Wisconsin fire departments to report use of PFAS-containing firefighting foam. A statewide survey on the use and storage of PFAS-containing firefighting foams at fire departments is being conducted by the UW-Madison Survey Center on behalf of the Wisconsin DNR. Results are expected in early April.
The survey coincides with Governor Tony Evers’ signing into law this week the legislation that addresses PFAS use in firefighting.