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More wells near La Crosse Airport to be tested for PFAS chemicals

Brad Williams

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More testing will be done on French Island, for a hazardous chemical found in well water near the La Crosse Airport.

Local officials and scientific experts spoke about the testing for PFAS chemicals, used in firefighting foam at the airport for decades, during an on-line meeting Tuesday night.

Geologist John Storlie says the chemical has been found in levels above government standards in 40 private wells already tested.

He says drilling a new well is not recommended, but the preferred remedies are a home filtration system or connection to La Crosse city water.

Almost all of the affected homes have agreed to let the city provide them with bottled water for drinking and cooking, for now.

The new testing will be done mostly in areas south of Interstate 90.

Toxicologist Curtis Hedman from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services says the human body can get rid of PFAS, but it may take months or years.

Hedman says PFAS may affect fertility in women, blood pressure, and cholesterol, and he believes the best remedy is to keep people from drinking water containing PFAS. The water can still be used for bathing, but Hedman doesn’t recommend using the water for home gardening.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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