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La Crosse lawmakers promote new state efforts to reduce PFAS levels in drinking water



This March will mark three years of bottled water deliveries to families on French Island, whose private wells have been polluted by PFAS chemicals. Two La Crosse lawmakers are saying, enough is enough, and they’re advocating new proposals to ban many uses of PFAS.

Senator Brad Pfaff and Representative Jill Billings went to the Campbell Town Hall on Thursday to talk about those bills. Pfaff says the bills he’s introducing now are intended to go further than previous measures aimed at reducing PFAS contamination.

“We need to make sure that we pass PFAS legislation that protects the people, and the residents here in the Town of Campbell, as well as residents around the state,” Pfaff told reporters.

FILE – US Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) meets with Town of Campbell community leaders in May of 2022, to discuss PFAS contamination in the wells there. (PHOTO: Brad Williams).

If passed, the bills would also allow Campbell families to keep getting deliveries of bottled water, to replace the tainted groundwater. Hundreds of families on French Island have been provided with bottled water since March of 2021, after their own private wells were found to be unsafe to use because of PFAS in the water.

Billings says an important part of the new bills is funding for a community grant program, giving money to municipalities to test for PFAS and to remove the chemicals from water systems.

Campbell town supervisor Lee Donahue has been working for PFAS relief for several years. “I have a huge garden in my backyard,” said Donahue. “I have a raspberry patch that’s 12 feet wide and a hundred feet long, and I don’t eat them any more.”

Governor Tony Evers is calling on legislators to release $125 million aimed at reducing PFAS chemicals in groundwater. The PFAS in French Island water have been traced to firefighting foam used for years at the La Crosse Airport.

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. Bob N.

    March 1, 2024 at 9:16 am

    Brad ‘photo-op’ Pfaff must pay for the camera batteries for WIZM with all the pix they take of him. This event was to publicize a nothing bill that does zero to help the PFA contamination on French Island. Locking the barn door after the horse was stolen.

  2. Walden

    March 1, 2024 at 9:32 am

    3M, the largest producer of PFAS has already withdrawn these chemicals from the market where replacements are available. Total withdrawal is expected by 2025.

    The legislature said it would release the funds when they see a plan for how it will be spent. The DNR and Governor have not answered that request. True to form, the Dems just want to pour more taxpayer money on the problem with no defined benefit or goal identified.

    Why are not the Dem controlled City, County governments along with the Airport and its insurers stepping up on this matter. Crickets from local Dems on their local responsibilities.

    Meaningless Pfaff photo op # 501

  3. Prairie Independent

    March 1, 2024 at 10:01 am

    Please let me know when the raspberries are ripe; I would love to pick a bunch (the actual raspberries; not the contemptuous democrat ones on display here).

  4. marcus

    March 8, 2024 at 10:56 am

    I chuckled at the wall of water bottles in the photo…makes sure the plebs don’t get too close to their “representatives.”

  5. Prairie Democrat

    March 8, 2024 at 10:58 am

    Have Donahue call me when the raspberries ripen; I’ll be right over to pick some.

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