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JCI/Tyco Issues Response to DNR

Issue Date: July 29, 2020

On July 7, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) issued a letter to JCI/Tyco requesting a response that they sample potable wells in the expanded site investigation area around the Fire Technology Center as requried by state law.

The focus at the DNR has been and will continue to be providing accurate information to the public on the contamination that exists as a result of the operations at the Fire Technology Center in the Marinette-Peshtigo area.The DNR disagrees with JCI's characterization of the data and are actively pursuing all of the steps they believe are needed to address the situation.

Tyco responded to the July 7 DNR Southern Boundary in a letter dated July 16 stating, Tyco is glad the DNR has indicated they will test for PFAS in the area south of the current boundaries of the Fire Technology Center site investigation area, otherwise known as the ìSouthern Area. In May Tyco shared a comprehensive 1,000-page report, which including significant testing data and analysis, with the WDNR that clearly demonstrated PFAS in this area did not come from the firefighting foam or the Fire Technology Center. There is no reliable scientific evidence suggesting otherwise. Therefore, under Wisconsin law, Tyco cannot be an appropriate responsible party to perform investigation work in this area.

PFAS has been used in many consumer products and industrial processes since the 1940s. As part of the DNR's activity in the Southern Area, the agency cannot simply test for whether or not PFAS exists, they must also work to identify where PFAS is coming from and bring those parties responsible together so this issue can be resolved in the best possible manner to protect the community. We have offered to provide them assistance in this process, however, the DNR has yet to takeTyco up on this offer.

The DNR wrote a notice of intent to Johnson Controls, Inc. and Tyco Fire Products, LP (JCI/Tyco) stating the DNR's intent to take direct action to conduct the public and private potable well sampling related to the Fire Technology Center (FTC) site investigation and seek cost recovery from JCI/Tyco. This notice of intent was in response to a June 1, 2020 letter stating JCI/Tyco will not perform additional potable well sampling as required by state law and as further directed by the DNR.

On May 27, 2020, the DNR sent a notice of noncompliance outlining actions requiring immediate attention by Tyco to address site investigation deficiencies at the FTC located at 2700 Industrial Parkway in Marinette. The FTC property is a source of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination in Marinette, Town of Peshtigo, and surrounding communities. The notice of non-compliance described requirements of JCI/Tyco as a responsible party to rule out consumption of PFAS-contaminated drinking water as the primary exposure pathway for PFAS within the site investigation area surrounding the FTC.

To be clear, the DNR is not proposing to incur costs to identify other sources of contamination. In correspondence with DNR, JCI/Tyco has suggested that DNR is aware of other sources of PFAS in the Marinette and Peshtigo area near the FTC, particularly in the area described by JCI/Tyco as the southern area south of Rader Road, north of the Little River, and between Ditch A and the Bay of Green Bay in the Town of Peshtigo. At this time, the DNR is not aware of other specific sources of PFAS in the FTC site investigation area that would be impacting potable wells. The sampling data available to DNR from this area suggests the source of PFAS contamination is associated with PFAS-containing firefighting foam.

However, if other sources exist at a response action site, it is the obligation of a responsible party (Tyco) to define and scope the site investigation in proximity to other sources of contamination. At other response action sites, responsible parties often readily identify other sources in site investigation activities, should they exist. If Tyco has evidence of other PFAS sources in the area of the FTC site, DNR requests JCI/Tyco to provide a detailed list of sources with contact information and relevant PFAS data analysis associated with such sources.

Tyco clarified the DNRs Inaccurate Statements made prior. On June 12, the DNR sent a public statement about Tyco's remediation efforts to individuals who have signed up for their listserv. The DNR's statement contained a number of inaccuracies. Tyco contacted the agency privately, requesting they correct the record and asked them to issue an amended statement to those individuals who received the initial incorrect version, or to distribute Tyco's response statement via their listserv. They refused to do so. This posting describes the inaccuracies the DNR is willing to leave on the record. We are, quite frankly, astonished that a public agency is taking the position that it has no responsibility to provide accurate information to the public.

DNR: Tyco has not evaluated how PFAS could have been discharged into the air and, thereby, impacting soil and groundwater.

Fact: Tyco submitted a 37-page air discharge report evaluating potential air pollution discharge four days before the WDNR sent out the listserv post.

DNR: Tyco has not addressed all required transport mechanisms.

Fact: Tyco submitted an Interim Site Investigation Report on May 15, 2020 and an Air Deposition Report on June 8, 2020 that together comprehensively evaluated all of the transport pathways required by Wisconsin law.

DNR: Arcadis, Tyco' s expert consultant stated at a conference that Atmospheric deposition of PFAS can occur tens of miles away from the release location.

Fact: First, that statement was made by a different environmental consultant, not by Arcadis. Second, that statement was made in the context of a site that has a factory with stack emissions that emit PFAS high up into the atmosphere. Tyco's Fire Technology Center (FTC) has no such building.

DNR: Tyco's site is like sites with stack emissionsî in North Carolina or North Bennington, Vermont.

Fact: It is strikingly misleading to compare the FTC to PFAS factories in North Carolina or Vermont because Tyco does not manufacture raw PFAS chemicals and has no such stack emissions at Marinette.The Chemours site in North Carolina manufactures PFAS chemicals themselves and includes the type of stack emissions that Tyco does not have. The same is true of the St. Gobain site the DNR calls a landfillî in Vermont, which involves a major PFAS fabric coating facility that also involves stack emissions that have contaminated the local environment This is the second time that the WDNR has made false and misleading statements about Tycos submissions. We asked the DNR to retract its April 23 letter of non-compliance to the company regarding the levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in sampled water at Ditch A. There, too, the agency ignored and misrepresented materials the Tyco had previously provided. The DNR has yet to respond to multiple requests for a retraction. This is not the way to make good public policy. Tyco and Arcadis have been working for years to gather, collate, analyze and report on millions of dollars worth of testing and data. We are focused on providing a clean, sustainable drinking water supply to the residents in the Town of Peshtigo, as well as executing on a long-term remediation strategy for the FTC.

Most recently the DNR was monitoring the cleanup of an accidental release of a mixture of river water and contaminated groundwater from the JCI/Tyco facility at 1 Stanton St. in Marinette. The incident at the Tyco facility was reported to the DNR on July 26 just before 9 p.m. Representatives from Tyco reported that a mixture of river water and contaminated groundwater entered storm sewer drains which flow back to the Menominee River.

Tyco has reported that water is being recovered from the site and placed into tanks and pumping and clean-up activities are ongoing. Groundwater at the Stanton Street facility is contaminated with PFAS and arsenic from prior discharges. The DNR staff are working to ensure that Tyco is taking the steps necessary to contain the release. No further details are available at this time. The DNR will share additional information as it becomes available.

Tyco responded to the spill stating they take their responsibility as a good corporate citizen in Marinette seriously. Tyco promptly notified the DNR of a water line break that occurred at the Stanton Street facility. This water line brings water to the facility from the Menominee River. They quickly turned off the water line and immediately put in place appropriate, best-in-class measures to contain and capture the water. Based on their early analysis, there was a very limited amount of water that went into the storm drain that connects back to the Menominee River. Tyco will continue to communicate with the DNR on this issue and cleanup any remaining water from this break.


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