The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources chief says ensuring clean water for the state is a “top priority” for his agency.
Secretary Preston Cole is disappointed with a vote in February by the state’s DNR policy committee to increase the levels of PFAS chemicals allowed in drinking water, over what the department wanted.
“We are extremely concerned that the Natural Resources Board had the opportunity to create standards that we believe 20 parts per trillion could position Wisconsin to be adaptive and work with communities to ensure clean water.” , Cole said during a visit to La Crosse last week when EPA Administrator Michael Regan was in town.
The DNR preferred a threshold of 20 parts per trillion PFAS, but the board increased that to 70 parts, citing in part the costs it would take to lower those levels.
Cole said reducing PFAS chemicals and other pollution would help Wisconsin in many ways, most notably the tourism industry.
“Right now, communities and families are flipping the pages of where we want to spend our summer vacation,” said Cole. “We know all too often that they don’t show up in places where the water is contaminated with PFAS.”
Cole works with cities and communities across the state on plans to improve water treatment facilities that may be outdated.