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PFAS found in 45 wells near La Crosse Airport

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About one-third of private wells tested so far on French Island contain an excess amount of a hazardous chemical used for years at the La Crosse Airport. 

That total is 45 so far, according to geologist John Storlie, who’s working on PFAS detection with the city of La Crosse. 

Those 45 households could qualify for bottled water or home filtration systems. 

Trouble is, Storlie says those PFAS chemicals show up almost everywhere: Teflon pans, Bounce dryer sheets, “shampoos, hair conditioners, sunscreen, lipstick…you’re putting it right in your mouth.”

Sixty-five of the 125 tested wells had PFAS levels within the acceptable standard, and results from 15 more tests have not been revealed yet.  

More well testing is planned on property south of I-90, to learn how far the PFAS have spread underground.      

La Crosse Mayor Tim Kabat says the city will discuss extending municipal water to affected homes, but he doesn’t know how many families will want it.

Kabat says the city was required by the federal government to use the firefighting foam containing PFAS at the airport for years.

The French Island testing began after PFAS were found in two city-owned wells close to the airport.  

Storlie says the PFAS pollution affecting the wells south of the airport has been traced to the use of foam after the fatal crash of a small plane at the airport 20 years ago, during the 2001 Deke Slayton Airfest.       

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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