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Environmental research group looks to expand PFAS study

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - The OS Group asked the La Crosse City Council to consider expanding their groundwater study after PFAS contamination was found in 36 residential wells on French Island.

PFAS contamination is found in some fire-fighting foam and is known to cause cancer and birth defects in small amounts.

The OS Group environmental researcher John Storlie updated the council on Thursday night. He found that the highest contamination came foam used to put out a plane crash in 2001.

The contaminated water soaked through the ground and flowed out far enough that Storlie asked the council to approve well testing at the Days Inn, Shenanigans and apartments in the area.

Storlie said he hopes an expanded study helps find any possible PFAS contaminations and answer all of his questions.

"Is there a release further in this part of the airport south of Fanta Reed Road or is this a completely unrelated release?" Storlie asked. "For instance was there a nearby house fire that was responded to and used fire fighting foam for completely other reasons than airport operations?"

Storlie and his team has already sent out requests to test these wells. He said usually they can complete a test outdoors, but they always wear masks and only enter homes occasionally.

The council said this study would take a long time and that they'll consider all of their options.

A study expansion could cost the city $51,000.

No immediate action was taken.

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Marcus Aarsvold

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