January 14, 2021 — High levels of toxic PFAS chemicals have been found in at least 40 wells that provide drinking water for people who live on French Island in La Crosse, Wisconsin.
The findings were announced after the city of La Crosse tested wells downstream from the La Crosse Regional Airport, which is located on the north end of French Island, next to the Mississippi River.
Officials believe the toxic chemicals came from firefighting foam that was used during trainings and crashes at the airport.
Firefighting foam, also known as Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF), contains a group of “forever chemicals” known as PFAS, or perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances.
PFAS chemicals take thousands of years to break down in the environment. They also accumulate in the human body, where they can cause cancer and a variety of other health problems.
High levels of PFAS chemicals were found in wells near the airport in May 2016, but downstream testing only began in October 2020. At the time, city officials insisted that La Crosse water was “safe” to drink.
Now, La Crosse officials say 108 wells tested positive for some level of PFAS contamination from October 21, 2020 to January 5, 2021. Of those wells, 40 had PFAS levels above safety standards set by the Department of Natural Resources, and another 14 tests were pending.
The city has spent $25,000 on 5-gallon bottles of water to provide 36 homes on French Island with drinking water that comes from another part of Wisconsin, is filtered, and has tested negative for PFAS.
The city will continue to supply bottled water until a long-term solution is found, according to Tim Kabat, outgoing La Crosse Mayor.
Do I have a Firefighting Foam Lawsuit?
The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting firefighting foam induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know had water contamination or health problems from PFAS chemicals in firefighting foam, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Toxic Chemical Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
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