Northern Environmental Advocates: PFAS in Drilling Fluids

Wisconsin DNR has a new research project to determine if PFAS are in DNR approved
drilling fluids used for mineral exploration drilling and drinking water well
Contrary to what the DNR has admitted during recent meetings, DNR staff is still making
unfounded public statements that products on their approved list do not contain PFAS. Since
there has never been any testing to confirm these products lack PFAS, any statement
claiming that products are PFAS free is not backed up by factual evidence.
The DNR continues to absorb full liability for allowing use of the 210 chemicals on their
approved list. If any of these products are found to be the source of PFAS contamination, the
level of liability fault will be extreme for the DNR. Oddly, the DNR continues to make
unsupported claims about the safety of products that have never been tested.
Concern of PFAS being in drilling fluids and other chemicals used for water well construction
has been brought to the DNR’s attention numerous times over the last year. Concerns have
mostly gone unaddressed by the DNR.
That changed during two June 17, 2022 meetings, which among other disclosures, a
spokesperson from the NSF (the nations’ preeminent water safety testing agency) admitted
that even they do not test all products they review for PFAS content. And the DNR is only
looking at Safety-Data-Sheets from manufacturers of the chemicals to see if “PFAS” are
listed as ingredients. The DNR does not do any product testing to confirm chemicals allowed
to come in contact with drinking water do not contain PFAS.
As recently as August 4, 2022, the DNR had to again confirm they do not know if products on
their list contain PFAS. The DNR reports they are working on a research project to get an
understanding of what is in the products and that proprietary restrictions pose a problem to
disclose full ingredient lists. They ask the public to stay tuned and wait for further information.
Until then the use of unknown chemicals continues. Listen to the exchange that occurs from
1:52 to 1:56 during the meeting that is found
To listen to the two June 17, 2022 meetings go to these
To see the DNR’s approved list of drilling fluids and well construction aids go here:
Look up Safety-Data-Sheets for products on the DNR approved list. You will be performing
the same level of scrutiny the DNR practices. Many SDS’s warn that the products should
never come in contact with groundwater or drinking water. Drilling holes into water aquifers
makes contact with these toxic chemicals inevitable. All products used for water well drilling
and mineral exploration drilling need to be pre-tested prior to use to confirm they do not
contain PFAS.