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Test for more dangerous PFAS compounds -- Jim Powell

January 10, 2019

I’m glad the State Journal is covering the issue offluorinated compounds, known as PFAS, because Madison has a history of neglecting toxins. Decades of military contamination of groundwater, Starkweather Creek and now our drinking water is hard to ignore.

Truax Air National Guard has been using firefighting foams with a type of PFAS called fluorotelomers. Yet the city won’t be testing for these in drinking water, only a small panel of other PFAS compounds.

If the city doesn’t test for all the chemicals leaching from the base, then -- of course -- it won’t find them, making it easier to reassure the public. If money is the issue for the financially strapped water utility, then less frequent testing that includes the fuller range of PFAS compounds likely to be present is the way to go.

Something not yet addressed is that Dane County owns all the PFAS-contaminated land at Truax Field, including two former burn pits likely highly contaminated with PFAS. The airport just built a new parking lot at the site of one of the burn pits without any testing or remediation, even though Starkweather Creek flows right past it.

Curiously, the county is not testing its land, the creek or groundwater, nor is it taking responsibility, even though it shares a stormwater pollution permit with the Air National Guard. Why isn’t County Executive Joe Parisi speaking out?

Jim Powell, Madison, board member, Midwest Environmental Justice Organization

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