Mayor Rhodes-Conway responds to DNR, DHS statement on PFAS fish tissue samples

Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway at a press conference on Oct. 23.
By  | 

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway responded to a release from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources which identified fish from Starkweather Creek and Lake Monona with elevated levels of PFOS on Wednesday morning.

The DNR released new fish consumption advisories for Starkweather Creek and Lake Monona.

In response to these results, Public Health Madison & Dane County will be publicizing the fish consumption advisories by putting up new signage at lake access points and along Starkweather Creek, hosting two public meetings, and sending a mailing to homes near the water, according to Rhodes-Conway.

“The city is taking immediate steps to inform the public about the new, more restrictive fish advisories,” Rhodes-Conway said. “The city will continue to follow the best available science to protect the public’s health. I urge people to take this advisory seriously and recognize that small fish are of concern as well.”

Public Health Madison & Dane County is planning public meetings to discuss the fish tissue sample results and the health impacts of consumption. Spanish and Hmong interpreters will be available, and one of the meetings will be recorded and available on their website.

The Public Health PFAS webpage and signage at lake access points will be updated to reflect the latest data and guidelines.

Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a large group of human-made chemicals found in firefighting foams, stain repellents, nonstick cookware, fast food wrappers and many other products. One type of PFAS, called PFOS, can build up in the muscles and livers of fish at higher levels than other PFAS, according to Rhodes-Conway.

Madison’s drinking water wells draw water from a deep sandstone aquifer below the city, not from surface water. The Water Utility continues to monitor all wells for PFAS contamination and post information on their website. One well has proactively been taken offline, although all testing results have been below interim guidelines set by the state.

To limit future environmental contamination, the City has converted to PFAS-free firefighting foam. The city, county and the DNR will continue to work together to address the source of PFAS contamination at Truax Field, according to Rhodes-Conway.