Seal of Dane County County of Dane
County Executive's Office

Dane County Regional Airport Collaborating with Wisconsin DNR on PFAS, Will Host Public Information Meetings

January 15, 2020
Brent S. Kyzer-McHenry, (608) 661-6442
County Executive

The County of Dane and the Dane County Regional Airport (DCRA) are collaborating with the State of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on PFAS. This partnership expands an ongoing investigation of the sources and impacts of PFAS and to implement mitigation and remediation efforts to address PFAS contamination in soils, the DCRA storm water system, groundwater, and associated waterways in areas near DCRA.

"We are committed to working with local, regional, and national partners to address this issue. Our most important resource is the health and safety of our residents and it is essential that all agencies work together to create the best solution for Dane County residents as we once again lead the nation and develop a case study for airport PFAS mitigation nationwide,” Airport Director Kim Jones said.

PFAS are found in everyday items such as nonstick cookware, microwave popcorn bags, fast-food wrappers, water-resistant clothing, shampoo, dental floss, nail polish and eye makeup, as well as firefighting foam known as aqueous film-forming foam, or (AFFF).

The Federal Aviation Administration requires airport firefighting services to use AFFF in emergencies because of its superior ability to extinguish fires started by jet fuel, gasoline, and other petroleum based chemicals – to save lives. Any releases of these chemicals by Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) operations at the airport would only occur during actual emergency situations and are immediately contained and mitigated, ensuring no further PFAS are released into the nearby environments.

DCRA is one of the first airports in the nation to research and implement appropriate mitigation measures for PFAS and will continue working with the DNR, the Wisconsin Air National Guard, and other partners to develop a detailed action plan. It will include rigorous testing, methodical and scientific research, as well as collaboration with local and national experts to ensure an appropriate and sustainable methodology. The plan will need to be adaptable as ongoing research of PFAS continues worldwide.

"This is a national problem involving a wide array of industries and commercial applications, as well as many state and federal agencies. We are investigating appropriate cleanup actions based on risk as well as developing solutions that will be a benchmark for other airports," said Jones.

Public information meetings will be scheduled in the near future to update Dane County residents on plans to address PFAS.

For questions about the health effects of PFAS, please see the Public Health of Madison & Dane County Website.