Drilling for a solution: Town of Campbell receives $100,000 from La Crosse County

TOWN OF CAMPBELL (WKBT) — Families in the Town of Campbell are coming up on an unwelcome anniversary. This December marks two years since they learned cancer-causing forever chemicals were contaminating their drinking water.

$100,000 dollars may find a solution to the Town of Campbell’s forever chemical contamination.

“These are still preliminary steps to pinpointing a cure or a solution to the problem,” Town of Campbell Supervisor Lee Donahue said.

The La Crosse County Board is giving the Town $100,000 to drill a test well. The County Board also approved an additional $500,000 for additional research, but those funds will not be provided to the Town of Campbell until 2023. La Crosse County Board Chair Monica Kruse said the money is an important investment.

“It’s in everybody’s interest not just the Town of Campbell, not just French Island,” Kruse, said.

Crews will drill through the first layer of water and a layer of rock to find out if the water underneath is contaminated with PFAS. Donahue says she hopes crews will start drilling in December.

“You want to make sure you’re not dragging contamination from the upper Aquaphor, through that rock, to the lower Aquaphor,” Donahue said.

Donahue says it’s necessary to determine if the bottom layer of water can provide a long-term solution.

“All of the testing that has been done to this date shows that that lower Aquaphor is not contaminated,” Donahue said.

The drilling will occur near Norm Wardell Memorial Park. Residents near the park have little to no levels of PFAS in their water.

“Makes it a lot safer to drill there knowing that it’s less likely to drag contamination down to that lower Aquaphor,” she said.

Donahue says this is just the first step.

“The research and the data really has to drive what our long-term solution is going to be,” Donahue said.

County Board Chair Monica Kruse says she hopes the funding will provide some answers.

“It will be a source of clean water for the residents of French Island and the Town of Campbell – so that’s my hope,” Kruse said.