PFAS found in Rhinelander municipal well, water OK to drink
Well with high levels currently turned off
FOR THE TOMAHAWK LEADER
RHINELANDER – A municipal well is offline after levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) were found above the EPA’s health advisory (70 ng/L) and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services’ (OHS) recommended groundwater standard level (20 ng/L). DNR is investigating potential sources of the contamination and is working to determine the extent of the contamination.
The well with high levels is by the airport and is currently turned off, meaning the public water system is OK to drink.
“There is not currently enough information to determine where the contamination comes from or extends to,” says Oneida County Health Officer Linda Conlon. “If people are concerned about their private well, we recommend they find an alternative source of water, such as bottled water or water from a known safe source.”
Local and state officials are working on a plan to investigate the contamination. At this time the local health department does not recommend people get their water from the Crescent Spring located at 3171 S River Road. We do not have any information at this time to determine whether the Spring water contains PFAS.
The DNR is in the process of testing the Crescent Spring.
PFAS are a group of man-made chemicals that have been used in non-stick cookware, water-repellent clothing, stain resistant fabrics and carpets, some cosmetics, some firefighting foams, and products that resist grease, water, and oil.
Potential Health Risks of PFAS
Any specific health-related questions regarding the effects of PFAS on your health should be directed to your doctor while any general questions regarding the effects of PFAS should be directed to OHS.
Scientists are still learning about the health effects that various PFAS can have on the body and the effects of mixtures of PFAS. The more widely used substances, like perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS), and perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), have been studied more than other PFAS.
Some, but not all, studies in humans with PFAS exposure have shown that certain PFAS may:
- Increase cholesterol levels.
- Decrease how well the body responds to vaccines.
- Increase the risk of thyroid disease.
- Decrease fertility in women.
- Increase the risk of serious conditions like high blood pressure or pre-eclampsia in pregnant women.
- Lower infant birth weights; however, the decrease in birth weight is small and may not affect the infant’s health.
More information can be found on the Oneida Public Health Department website:
Visit the DNR website for general PFAS questions: https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/Contaminants/PFAS.html
Contact Dr. Sarah Yang at 608 266-9337 for health-related questions.
More information about PFAS and health risks can be found on the Wisconsin DHS website at https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/chemical/pfas.htm.
Contact Northern Lakes Services Inc. (https://www.nlslab.com or 1-800-278-1254) or Wisconsin State Lab OF Hygiene Environmental Lab (1-800-442-4618) for private well testing for PFAS.