By Shereen Siewert

Rothschild officials say efforts to reduce PFAS in drinking water are succeeding after the latest round of testing showed the levels dropped by about 12 percent.

In February, village officials announced they took one well offline an hour after discovering concerning toxic chemicals in the water supply. Officials combined water from remaining wells in an effort to provide customers with drinking water below all recommended PFAS standards.

An initial voluntary round of testing was performed Feb. 2 with results received Feb. 18, which sampled for Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in the drinking water system. Village officials determined the level of PFAS warranted additional action, which prompted them to discuss the results with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and begin next steps.

The original test showed levels of 22.4 parts per trillion. The latest voluntary round of testing recorded levels of 19.8 ppt, below the Department of Health Services’ recommended 20 ppt level. That meant the hazard index for the water dropped from 1.25 to 1.1 said Gary Olson, Rothschild Village Administrator.

“We are not in violation of any regulatory standards, but the DHS and DNR do require that we send out a notice to all our customers due to the hazard index being over 1,” he said.

The Village’s Water Commission will meet in the near future to discuss short term and long term alternatives to reduce the amount of PFAS to be permanently under the recommended levels, Olson said Wednesday. Staff have already begun researching alternatives.

A notice will be sent Wednesday to Rothschild water customers regarding the findings.

Olson said the Department of Natural Resources requested the village test every three months for PFAS. The results will be posted online when available.