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Some French Island families with high PFAS levels don’t qualify for free drinking water from the City of La Crosse

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FRENCH ISLAND, Wis. (WXOW) - Kathy and Joe Weitekamp's well water tested at 25 parts-per-trillion for PFAS contamination, but since they aren't in the City of La Crosse's test zone they did not qualify for free temporary drinking water.

The couple paid for their own test and reported the results to the Town of Campbell who helped them contact the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Once the DNR confirmed with the City of La Crosse that the Weitekamp's lived outside of their designated investigation, the DNR then started paying and delivering gallons of drinking water to the house.

The couple is frustrated with communication between the City of La Crosse and the Town of Campbell.

"The city keeps saying they want to collaborate and they want to work together," Kathy said. "'Why are we going against them?' But the Town of Campbell has contacted them numerous times with no responses or very extended periods of time with their responses."

"It's surprising that with this PFAS contamination that safe drinking water has not been identified more quickly to be a priority," Town of Campbell supervisor Lee Donahue said.

She continued that people who can afford the $425.00 testing fee report their results to the Town of Campbell clerk's email:

"That really helps the DNR," Lee said. "They are trying to issue a health advisory but they can't do that with the Department of Health unless they have concrete data."

Kathy and Joe said they're thankful for Donahue's work, but that La Crosse Mayor Tim Kabat should share more information.

"If you really want to work together with us, work together with us so we can get a full picture," Kathy said. "On the Town of Campbell website where we have areas mapped out… It's only because residents have been courteous to let the Town of Campbell know. That's the only results that the Town of Campbell knows because the rest are not being shared."

Mayor Kabat's office said he'll be open to an interview once their investigation is complete.


WXOW Coverage of PFAS issues

City of La Crosse PFAS information

Town of Campbell PFAS information

DNR PFAS information website

DNR investingation into Town of Campbell PFAS contamination

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Marcus Aarsvold

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