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Deeper drilling on French Island finds fresh groundwater without evidence of PFAS



Is there a remedy for the PFAS pollution of well water near the La Crosse Airport?  Maybe, according to results of recent underground drilling on French Island. 

The La Crosse County Board has heard town supervisor Lee Donahue of Campbell report that drilling has detected an apparently safe groundwater source, without PFAS, farther down than the current wells have been drilled. 

“What we have discovered so far is that, yes, it looks indeed to be a safe water source, a sustainable water source,” Donahue told county board members on Monday. “Testing continues, we are very close to the end of all the testing with that.”

The county and the town jointly spent about $200,000 on that test drilling. 

Thousands of French Island residents have been forced to use bottled water since early 2021, because their wells are tainted with chemicals from firefighting foam used at the airport.  Donahue says the Town of Campbell does not want to have to depend on outside sources, such as the city of La Crosse, for drinking water.

She said that about 4300 French Island residents are affected by the PFAS pollution, traced to firefighting foam used for decades at the La Crosse Airport. 

Donahue says plumes of PFAS chemicals will be traced underground, in the hope that the chemicals do not find their way into the deeper water level.

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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1 Comment

  1. Lee Donahue

    April 10, 2023 at 9:30 pm

    This story is misleading. I never said that Campbell has detected uncontaminated water in the test well.I said the USGS deep well has shown non detection. The Campbell test well is 500 feet deep, cased and grouted to prevent contamination from being drawn down from the upper contaminated aquifer to the lower aquifer. Tests are still needed to determine if this 500 foot $192,000 well is PFAS free. Those water samples are expected to be taken this week with results in 30 days.

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