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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Water Treatment Program Discussed At Town Meeting

Issue Date: February 24, 2021

Although the agenda was short for the Town of Peshtigo meeting on Thursday, Feb. 18, a zoom presentation from Katie McGinty, Chief Sustainability Officer from Tyco - Johnson Control Inc (JCI) took up the majority of time.

Supervisor Kayla Furton started the meeting stating, "Residents in the initial plume of contamination should have received communication from Arcadis Tyco/JCI. PFAS numbers can change over time so I extremely encourage you to take advantage of the free testing opportunities that are being offered by Tyco".

From there, McGinty began her presentation for the long term solution for drinking water for the Town saying "I am grateful for this opportunity to be with you tonight. My purpose is to visit with all of you about our shared commitment to insure a permanent source of clean drinking water for the Town of Peshtigo (TOP) residents that have been adversely affected by PFAs from our operations on our facility. We want to do right for those residents. I want to share what has been done and what yet has to be done concerning the water line and what we might be able to work in partnership to do".

The official plan for the Groundwater Extraction and Treatment System (GETS) will be submitted to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) on Feb. 26 for review and approval and permitting. This will allow Tyco to stop PFAS from the FTC from getting into Ditch B and significantly decrease the level of PFAS in the ditch in the first year as well as will achieve Tyco to permit quality criteria the the GETS outfall. The official plan for soil remediation will be submitted to the WDNR in mid March and will allow Tyco to excavate and remove FTS soil above the PFAS standard. This will bring the PFAS levels not just down to industrial standards but down to home standards.

McGinty continued, "The lions share of the PFAS from Tyco's operations have long since washed out of the soil on Tyco property into the ground water so the big piece of this plan is to go down into the ground, pump it out and pull the PFAS out for permanent removal".

A slide show presentation showed what has been done since the onset of providing bottled water and Poet systems to the Town Board Supervisors approving a motion to draft a letter to the City of Marinette with a request to discuss a water supply. "The main item we want to share is driving forward on the permanent solution to ensure clean drinking water", McGinty said.

To clarify any rumors, McGinty stated, "What has not been done is Tyco has not engaged in any negotiations on a specific water line plan or other solution, TOP has not yet officially requested a water service and the City of Marinette will engage only with an official request from the TOP". McGinty wanted to make clear that "Tyco has not proposed and does not have the ability, authority or capacity to provide water from the FTC. The Town is the only one that can officially request the City of Marinette for their water service. It is the Towns prerogative and you are the only ones that can request the City of Marinette water if that is what you decide to do".

McGinty admitted there was a delay in Tyco paying legal bills. Some people worried that Tyco delayed paying of legal bills to delay this whole project. McGinty stated, "I just want to say that Tyco has remained committed to providing the resources necessary from an environmental and legal consulting perspective".

McGinty explained, "The delay was because of a concern shared between the Board and Tyco that the law firm ran up tens of thousands of legal bills, but not actually on the water line. That had inspired the board to include in the October resolution that the law firm could not engage in work without prior approval and it should be be subject to a pre-approved reimbursement agreement. I do know that Tyco paid to date about $162,000 in legal and consulting bills related to getting their arms around this situation. We do have pending a reimbursement agreement that we can put in place ahead of time and good news is, the colleagues on the board have worked with us and have an electronic reimbursement in place so hopefully that will speed things up".

Furton interjected, "I think it is very important for any actions or steps forward that the Town takes, needs to be taken with legal representation. I am excited to hear that there is a reimbursement agreement and would like to hear when you will have that available for review. McGinty stated, "That is before the board for consideration". Furton and Supervisor Kristin Edgar both mentioned they have not seen an agreement. Edgar stated, "I have never seen any documentation, so if it is before us, it is not before us" and Furton added, I am glad there is a proposal and I would love to see it". McGinty replied, "If you do not have it, I will be glad to make it available to you".

McGinty then moved forward with what can be done in partnership to move the project forward. "Tyco wants to accelerate work towards an agreement between the Town and City of Marinette. Tyco will continue to support legal and technical resources to both the Town and City of Marinette and they would like to try to meet the 2021 construction season".

McGinty shared the three options available if connecting with the City of Marinette water supply including 1) Purchasing bulk water from Marinette and operate a system/services via authority or contract to a third party that would not require annexation 2) Establish an intergovernmental agreement between the Town and Marinette to provide water without annexation, which may require the City to act to amend its ordinance and 3) Secure water service from the City with annexation.

McGinty stressed, "In partnership as you make decisions, we are committed to ensuring that we don't solve a water problem by creating a financial problem. Tyco will pay to design, permit and construct the water line and as you decide the other dimensions of this, we will be there at the table to understand and talk about the costs associated with those design parameters. Once an option is chosen, there will be additional processes of updated designs, review and permitting. When that is completed, Tyco will solicit for bids and hire contractors for construction. The plan needs to be reviewed, approved and permitted, which will include public input by multiple entities. Once the design and approval is done, Tyco will be ready to start construction assuming the process is not delayed beyond the upcoming construction season".

After the presentation, Furton stated, "In light of the fact that Tyco did invite residents via letter and email I would like to make a motion to suspend the rules to include public comment and questions at this time". A motion was then made and approved to go forward giving the residents the opportunity for comments and questions. A limit of two minutes per person was suggested by Chairman Herman Pottratz, with opposition and overruled by Furton to make it three minutes, the same as public comment.

Several questions and comments were made with the main concern being an accurate footprint of the designated plume area. A map was provided at a prior meeting with the water line showing dead end loops. There should not be any dead end loops. Residents were very concerned that the map did not include all of the areas that were affected. Also a concern was if the water line would be large enough to support fire hydrants. There were several requests for Tyco to provide a clearly defined map of all the affected areas that will be taken care of by Tyco.

Tom Lachcik, Arcadis Principal Project Director, replied to some of the concerns stating, "We originally started with a 4" water line but then received feedback from the DNR that a 6" line is needed if installing fire hydrants and will be provided if needed. The map did include a looping of lines in major roads areas, but there are some short stretches where a flushing hydrant will be placed on those lines to maintain quality. We will be working with the Town and City of Marinette to determine what the requirements are".

McGinty added, "If you are a home owner that had your well tested in the last three years by Tyco, if you were offered bottled water or the POET system and/or you received mailings to have your water re-tested, then you are one of those in the plume area and are eligible to be serviced by the water line. If your home was being tested by the WDNR and not by Tyco then your home is not in the study area and will not be included in the serviced area".

"Also, the WDNR is conducting testing in the expanded area south and west of our plume. We have had extensive discussions and analysis with the WDNR with respect to that area and that are all public information. That analysis shows that the direction of the ground water and the chemical characteristics of the PFAS that is found there is a very different footprint than the PFAS from AFFF foam from our operations. There is some PFAS being found there by WDNR testing but that is from sources that are different than what comes from our operations".

Furton then invited Director of Remediation and Redevelopment Program, Christine Haag to respond via Zoom to McGinty's comment. Haag stated, "I can sum up the answer by saying that this is still a disagreement between the WDNR and JCI and something that hasn't been settled yet".

WDNR Complex Site Project Manager Alyssa Sellwood then commented, "There was a lot of good information being shared and it is important in moving forward for us to work with JCI to provide very clear maps and the areas are clearly defined and also areas that are going to be addressed by the current remedy. I think its an evolution of work in process but I think some very clear pictures are going to help the concerns and the transparency".

Haag added, "We will work with JCI to come up with some more answers for the next Listening Session".

McGinty ended with, "Thank you to all of you we really appreciate it. Obviously there is a lot to work through. This was a good start tonight and I am grateful for the chance".

The meeting then resumed with the rest of the agenda items, including approval of a benefits plan for Keith Swallow. Also approved was a budget adjustment, was to remove $4,200 from holding tank deposits to be moved into a general fund as a general ledger transaction.

In other action, a letter of request sent to Marinette County Highway Committee and the (WDOT) Wisconsin Department of Transportation Green Bay office to lower the speed limit on Highway 41 between City of Peshtigo and City of Marinette was approved to be sent out for possible WDOT approval.

Two road bids were received $155,400 plus $10 per ton for gravel Northeast Asphalt for $129,950 plus other charges. The board decided to table and further discuss and review the bids, to be brought back to the March meeting.

In his Fire Chief report, Mike Folgert stated there were 10 fire calls including three vehicle crashes, two smoke alarms checks, one carbon monoxide check, a mobile home fire on Hale Road, a garage fire attached to a residence on a MABAS call, a power line downed call and an ice rescue on Green Bay that fortunately turned out that everyone was ok. All firefighters have gone through the first series of their Covid shots and will be receiving the second shot soon.

A request for Town residents was to please check your furnace and water heater exhaust pipes that they are not covered with or filled up by snow. Just as importantly check your fire numbers that your fire numbers are visible and not covered with snow. This is not just a problem for emergency responders, but also for mailmen, package deliveries and rescue services. Fifteen firefighters went through a training by NWTC. Received a donation from Springer Creek Lodge in the amount of $2,700.

Folgert stated he was working on a committee along with Marinette Fire Chief Jay Heckel and a number of other firefighters throughout the state with Wisconsin State Fire Chiefs Association on PFAS. We have been very active meeting with State Senators and Representatives and met with the Governor and his staff and also the WDNR. So far we have been successful with the Governors budget putting in one million dollars for removal and disposal of PFAS containing foams across the state. That is not going to help us here, because ours has already been removed but we are trying to get the word out to the state of Wisconsin that this is a problem. Things are starting to move forward.

Folgert urged residents to consider purchasing the new type of address marker signs. They show up much better than the old signs and it would truly help emergency responders to help identify areas if all residents had this type of new sign.

To assist residents with the ability to have this type of sign there will be a special cost in March or April of $25 per sign.

The next regular Town of Peshtigo Board meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 16 at 7 p.m. There will also be a special meeting with von Briesen Law firm on Tuesday, March 9 at 11 a.m. to determine the next path forward to the clean water solution.


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