Brief

High-quality trout stream gets PFAS advisory

By: - March 4, 2022 6:15 am
Trout image

(Photo: Hunter Brumels | Unsplash)

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Department of Health Services (DHS) have announced a PFAS-related consumption advisory for the Black Earth Creek. Consuming fish from the creek, leading to the confluence with Blue Mound Creek in Dane County, is not recommended due to high levels of PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate).

A new PFAS-based consumption advisory has been issued for Black Earth Creek to the confluence with Blue Mound Creek in Dane County following results of fish sampling conducted in 2020. / Photo Credit: Wisconsin DNR
A new PFAS-based consumption advisory has been issued for Black Earth Creek to the confluence with Blue Mound Creek in Dane County following results of fish sampling conducted in 2020. (Map: Wisconsin DNR)

PFOS are a type of PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), which are sometimes called “forever chemicals.” Used in slews of products for decades, the man-made compounds do not break down in the environment or within living bodies. High levels of PFAS exposure has been linked to various chronic diseases from cancers to thyroid disorders.

High levels of PFOS were detected in brown trout, which were sampled from the Black Earth Creek, near Cross Plains. The DNR and DHS, as a result, are recommending limiting meals using the trout to once a week.

The Black Earth Creek is classified as a class 1 trout stream. It’s a designation reserved for “high-quality trout waters that have sufficient natural reproduction to sustain populations of wild trout, at or near carry capacity.” Class 1 streams are so high quality that they don’t require stocking, and make up 5,365 or 40% of Wisconsin’s trout streams.

Regulating PFAS, particularly for drinking water, has been an uphill battle. Recently, the Wisconsin DNR’s Natural Resources Board rejected recommendations for PFAS levels in drinking water, which were crafted by ongoing scientific research.

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Isiah Holmes
Isiah Holmes

Isiah Holmes is a journalist and videographer, and a lifelong resident of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Holmes' video work dates back to his high school days at Wauwatosa East High, when he made a documentary about the local police department. Since then, his writing has been featured in Urban Milwaukee, Isthmus, Milwaukee Stories, Milwaukee Neighborhood News Services, Pontiac Tribune, the Progressive Magazine, Al Jazeera, and other outlets. He was also featured in the 2018 documentary The Chase Key, and was the recipient of the Sierra Club Great Waters Group 2021 Environmental Hero of the Year award. The Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council also awarded Holmes its 2021-2022 Media Openness Award for using the open records laws for investigative journalism. Holmes was also a finalist in the 2021 Milwaukee Press Club Excellence in Journalism Awards alongside the rest of the Wisconsin Examiner's staff. The Silver, or second place, award for Best Online Coverage of News was awarded to Holmes and his colleague Henry Redman for an investigative series into how police responded to the civil unrest and protests in Kenosha during 2020. Holmes was also awarded the Press Club's Silver (second-place) award for Public Service Journalism for articles focusing on police surveillance in Wisconsin.

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