Dane Co. Regional Airport collaborating with DNR on PFAS, to host public meetings

Foam present in Starkweather Creek in October shows elevated levels of PFAS.(Photo: WI DNR)
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- Following the release on fish tissue data by the Department of Health Services and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources on Wednesday morning, Dane County and the Dane County Regional Airport are collaborating with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources on PFAS.

The partnership intends to expand on an ongoing investigation of the sources and impacts of PFAS and to implement mitigation and remediation efforts to address PFAS contamination in soils, the DCRA storm water system, groundwater, and associated waterways in areas near DCRA, according to a statement from Dane County Regional Airport.

PFAS are found in everyday items such as nonstick cookware, microwave popcorn bags, fast-food wrappers, water-resistant clothing, shampoo, dental floss, nail polish and eye makeup, as well as firefighting foam known as aqueous film-forming foam, or (AFFF), according to the statement.

The Federal Aviation Administration requires airport firefighting services to use AFFF in emergencies because of its superior ability to extinguish fires started by jet fuel, gasoline, and other petroleum based chemicals – to save lives.

Any releases of these chemicals by Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) operations at the airport would only occur during actual emergency situations and are immediately contained and mitigated, ensuring no further PFAS are released into the nearby environments, according to the statement from the airport.

DCRA is one of the first airports in the nation to research and implement appropriate mitigation measures for PFAS and will continue working with the DNR, the Wisconsin Air National Guard and other partners to develop a detailed action plan, according to the statement from the airport.

The statement continued to say the intended plan will attempt to include rigorous testing, methodical and scientific research, as well as collaboration with local and national experts to ensure an appropriate and sustainable methodology. The plan will need to be adaptable as ongoing research of PFAS continues worldwide, according to DCRA.

Public information meetings will be scheduled in the near future to update Dane County residents on plans to address PFAS.

For questions about the health effects of PFAS, please see the
Public Health of Madison & Dane County Website.