Health officials in the Northwoods still searching for source of water contaminants

Health officials in the Northwoods still searching for source of water contaminants

RHINELANDER, Wis. (WAOW) — There are still ongoing concerns pertaining to PFAS, or perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances contaminating waters in Rhinelander.

PFAS are a type of man-made chemical compound that can present serious health risks to humans if ingested.

“This is an emerging issue for the state of Wisconsin,” said DNR Drinking Water and Groundwater Program Field Operations Director Kyle Burton. “We’re just starting to learn more about PFAS compounds. The department is gathering information and determining whether it’ll begin an investigation for the source of contamination.”

In the nearby Town of Crescent, the Oneida County Health Department has discovered the water at Crescent Spring off of South River Road is also contaminated with PFHxS, a type of PFA contaminate.

“Finding out that there was some research out there indicating that there could be some potential health issues, we decided to post the spring as do not drink,” said Todd Troskey from the Oneida County Health Department.

He said not a lot is known about PFHxS and more testing needs to be done. While he’s not completely sure, Troskey said there could be a potential that contaminants from the Crescent Spring may be traveling into the city of Rhinelanders water.

“It’s really difficult to say with any certainty whether the two are related,” Troskey added. “It is quite a distance but we also know that these compounds, as persistent as they are and unable to be broken down very easily, can travel quite a distance.”

The source of the contamination has not yet been determined.


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