LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (AP) – State environmental regulators are willing to spend more than half a million dollars a year to provide bottled water to nearly 1,200 households on the French island due to concerns about contaminated drinking water.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Health Services have issued an indefinite drinking water advisory and continue to make bottled water available to 4,300 island residents near The Crosse.
The concern relates to PFAS contamination resulting from the testing or use of fire-fighting foam containing the chemical at the La Crosse regional airport on the French island.
The so-called ‘forever chemical’ has raised concerns as it is among those linked to an increased risk of kidney and testicular cancer, thyroid disease and fertility problems. The chemicals are found in fire-fighting foam and everyday products like non-stick cookware, and do not break down easily in the environment.
MNR provides bottled water to 1,162 households with money from the agency’s environmental repair fund. The agency spent just under $ 96,000 on services billed through the end of May, but the agency plans to spend $ 550,000 to $ 600,000 per year on the French island, Wisconsin Public Radio reported.
“We had to fund other projects in the state to fund bottled water for French Island. So this is a pressure on our fund, and we believe, however, that it is necessary that we continue to fund this project, ”said Dave Rozeboom, DNR project manager. “So we’ll do it for the foreseeable future, as long as we have the funding to support it. “