Large Crowd Attends Tyco Water Session
There was a full house of Town of Peshtigo residents and concerned citizens at an update meeting for the groundwater sampling conducted on behalf of Tyco Fire Products held Tuesday evening, Jan. 23 at Little River Country Club. Of the 89 wells tested, eight were over the Heath Advisory Limit (HAL), 16 had detect but were below the HAL and 57 had no detect with seven results still pending.
The sampling was done in two phases. Affected areas of the possible contamination include County Road B and BB, Shore Drive, Green Gables Road and Rader Road. In Phase one, a total of 62 wells were sampled with 60 results received and two still pending. Of those 62, eight were above HAL, 16 had detection but were below the HAL limit and 36 were non detect, detecting no compounds.
In phase two, there were 27 wells tested, with 22 results received and 5 pending. Of the 27 wells sampled, 0 were above the HAL, one was detected but below the HAL and 21 were non detect.
In summary, there were a total of 89 wells tested with 82 results received and seven pending, resulting in a total of eight being above the HAL limit, 17 detected some compounds but below the HAL and 57 had no detect of the compounds. Of those wells above the HAL, they tested between 200 to 600 parts per trillion (PPT) of the PFOAs and PFOSs, with 70 PPT being at a safe level. Of the wells that had detect, those that were shallow wells had the highest detection and deeper wells had less detection, if any.
For those wells over the HAL detect, there were several options mentioned, including bottled water, a granule activated carbon water treatment system that removes the PFOAs and PFOSs out of the water, a new deep bedrock well or connect to public water. More evaluation has to be done before a decision can be made on which option is best. Each situation will depend on the amount of detect and the right application will be used for each. Whatever option has to be done, Tyco is responsible for the expense.
The compounds being tested were Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS) and Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA). PFOS and PFOS are fluorinated organic chemicals used in making carpets, clothing, fabrics for furniture, paper packaging for food and cookware and firefighting at airfields and industrial processes. These chemicals are resistant to water, grease and stains, therefore were compounds once used by Tyco in their testing field. These compounds are no longer used by Tyco at their testing site.
Jim Cox, Senior Manager Marketing Communications at Tyco welcomed those in attendance and introduced Tyco Personnel that were present along with the presenters and representatives from various agencies.
Those introduced from Tyco include, John Perkins, Executive Director of Environmental Health Safety; Rich Mator, Senior Environmental Health Services Manager of Remediation for groundwater investigation; Chris Behrend, Human Resources Manager and Eric Bretl, Director of Operations. Agencies present included, Mike Bedard, Vice President Arcadis Environmental Program Chief Consultant and Molly Bonjean, Marinette County Local Health Director.
Department of Natural Resources representatives included, Robert Thiboldeaux, Senior Toxicologist Environmental and Occupational Health Division of Public Health; Steve Ales Field Operations Direct Bureau of Remediation and Redevelopment; Roxanne Chronert, Northeast Region Remediation and Redevelopment Team Supervisor; Dave Neste, Hydrogeologist, Project Manager Green Bay Service Center; Ed Culhane, Media Contact and Janelle Merry, Drinking Water Program Field Supervisor, Green Bay.
Main presenter was Mike Bedard, Vice President Arcadis Environmental Program Chief Consultant with a power point presentation presented on a large screen with detailed information of the slides.
Bedard said, "Upcoming steps will be resampling all wells again in spring, along with ditches groundwater and soil investigations". Tyco and the agencies involved will continue to do long term monitoring and testing and will provide the community with updates through meetings or the media.
Perkins, who was instrumental in the Menominee clean up project stated "Tyco is committed to resolving the situation, they will be upfront and transparent, will identify solutions and this is only one of many meetings to be held to keep the public informed and updated". "I understand this is a huge inconvenience to families and we want to insure that the public has a voice". "We live and work here and employ a lot of employees in the community. "We are not going anywhere".
The meeting ended with a question and answer session from the public.
Chuck Boyle questioned, "Why are the presenters not talking about the Tyco site?" Answer: The focus is to talk about the private wells and those affected. Tyco will be doing a full investigation and clean up and it is still in the delineation stages. Boyle stated he is disappointed that they didn't share anything about the source of the problem.
What harm can these do to a person and how much of the chemicals can harm a person? Thiboldeaux said, "it can affect pregnancies with lower birth rates, a lot of exposure can affect cholesterol, thyroid and is a possible carcinogen." "It is not an easy question to answer, we are all exposed to these different products and it is best to talk to your doctor about the exposure".
Someone stated, testing is going to be redone in Spring, what happens in three years? five years? Bedard answered, "This is a long term program and will be continued to be monitored and tested. Tyco is not going away and they will be her to continue being proactive".
And the question was asked, will these chemicals still continue to be going down into the groundwater and where are they going? This is still being investigated and we are in the process of planning the next steps. Percentage wise, the most affected are typically the shallow wells of 60 feet or less, but not all shallow wells have detections.
What is the clean up procedure of the contaminated ground water? The investigation is still on going and there is no definite answer at this point and uncertain of what is the best way for clean up of the site.
Thiboldeaux was asked, Are the chemicals known to pass thru the skin? He stated, "We haven't seen that level of concentration yet but will be keeping an eye on it". What about watering a garden, does it get into the roots or stems of vegetables? He went on to say, "We are not prepared to answer that question yet. There is not as much information out there as there is for ingestion, but is not much of an issue and are still researching". At this point, Wisconsin doesn't have a HAL, at the point Wisconsin does establish a HAL, will they go back and check those wells again that are then below the HAL and maybe be above at that point depending on the level established? "This will fall under the clean up spill remedial action and long term care. Tyco will be doing all that work". "The ultimate goal of Tyco is to propose to use the existing standards and follow the EPA lead".
Thiboldeaux also added, the questions to ask are: How does this affect me? What is the source of exposure? What can I do to protect my family? Can I avoid using these products?
After the question and answer session, the agencies broke out into groups for those that had individual questions or those who didn't feel comfortable talking in the audience and residents could ask questions within the specific agency of concern.
A toll free project call line thru Arcadis US Inc. was established for help with information of basic questions and scheduling of water sampling. The number is 800-314-1381. Hours of operation of the call line are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m weekdays and Arcadis staff will answer your call. After hours a brief message can be left for a call back.
Other contact information available from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for questions on environmental cleanup status and overall process, contact Stephen Ales, DNR Central Office, 608-264-6014 or email Stephen.Ales@wisconsin.gov or for questions with health risks associated with the investigation, contact Rob Thiboldeaux, PhD Toxicologist Bureau of Environmental and Occupational Health, 608-267-6844 or email Robert.Thiboldeaux@dhs.wisconsin.gov
Tyco Fire Products also has a website available for further information and can be found at http://marinette.tycofpp.com along with a link for additional resources for Environmental Protection Agency information. You can also contact Tyco via email on their website link to ask for several other websites of available resources.
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