Town of Peshtigo sues companies over PFAS in the water

The town wants the companies to pay for past, present and future costs of PFAS investigations, cleanup, monitoring and more
Published: Oct. 19, 2022 at 5:02 PM CDT
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TOWN OF PESHTIGO, Wis. (WBAY) - The Town of Peshtigo filed a major lawsuit against several Wisconsin companies for alleged PFAS contamination. The litigation says the town has suffered from the pollution and wants a jury trial.

Tyco Fire Products and Johnson Controls are two of the companies listed on this lawsuit.

The town wants a jury to decide how much money the companies should pay for past, present and future costs of PFAS investigations, remediation, monitoring and more. Plus, it’s asking for the companies to foot the bill for a future utility district that would provide the town with a PFAS-free water supply.

The suit alleges Ansul Fire Technology Center, or AFTC, in Marinette tested and released foam containing PFAS into the environment over several decades, resulting in “extraordinarily high concentrations” of PFAS in surface water and groundwater miles away, including in the Town of Peshtigo. The claimed pollution is said to have contaminated drinking and recreational water and has impacted the town’s fishing, hunting and livelihood.

Action 2 News reached out to the town’s attorney and a spokesperson for Johnson Controls for comment. We have not heard back at the time of this writing.

PFAS are linked to health problems in humans and animals. They’re used in firefighting foam, fast food wrappers, nonstick cookware and stain-resistant sprays. They’re in a class known as “forever chemicals” because they don’t break down in the environment.

Back in July, the State of Wisconsin filed a lawsuit against 18 companies, including the four companies named in the Town of Peshtigo lawsuit, to cover the cost of investigations, clean-ups and remedies. At the time, Attorney General Josh Kaul said the cost to taxpayers was over $1 billion if they were left footing the bill.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources launched a website for the public to monitor PFAS investigations earlier this week, on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the federal Clean Water Act.