Tom Ladow has been eating fish he caught from Lake Snowden for years without worry, but now he’s starting to wonder if they might be bad for his health after finding high levels of ‘eternal chemicals’ in the water.

“You hate to think you’re eating something contaminated, but I’ve been fishing at Lake Snowden for years,” he said. “So I don’t know if stopping immediately would make any difference.”

Snowden Lake is one of several bodies of water located near the community of Stella in Oneida County, where some of the highest levels of PFAS have been found in the private wells of dozens of residents. Finding the water they use for drinking, cooking and bathing has already been a blow to society, but knowing that fishing can be unsafe is another blow.

“It’s shocking,” Lado said. “We don’t know where we’re going with this.”

Stella’s well water tested up to 36,000 parts per trillion (ppt) PFAS, which dwarfs the recommended federal standard of 4 parts per trillion and the state standard of 70 parts per trillion. The numbers are probably some of the highest in the country.

To date, the Department of Natural Resources has sampled 114 private wells in Stella, which is located about 10 miles east of Rhinelander. Of these 49 had PFAS levels above state limits, 32 had detections below limits and 33 were not. According to DNR Information, 47 health advisory letters have been sent out, making homeowners eligible for free bottled water.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: