EagleHerald Staff Writer
PESHTIGO—The Peshtigo Town Board is anxious for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to finalize a date for the long-awaited water supply discussions between the town, Johnson Controls, Inc. (JCI) and other stakeholders.
During a July 30 meeting with JCI Vice President & Chief Sustainability, Global Government and Regulatory Affairs Officer Kathleen McGinty, the town set a target date for the end of September to begin discussions about long-term water supply options for town residents impacted by the per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS) contamination caused by the historic activities of Tyco Fire Products (Tyco), a subsidiary of JCI.
With the September target date past and several more steps to go before the discussions can begin, Town of Peshtigo Chairperson Cindy Boyle said at the Water Committee meeting Wednesday that she is “(growing) impatient by the day,” particularly given that she will be gone the last week of October.
The town board has finalized its selection of Madison-based engineering firm Strand Associates, Inc. and Wilmington, Delaware-based law firm Grant & Eisenhofer to assist in preparations for the discussions. The DNR has also chosen envADR President Robert Olian to facilitate the discussions after vetting through a combined list of potential mediators provided by JCI, the town and the DNR itself.
DNR Program and Policy Analyst Molly Schmidt sent an email Wednesday to Boyle, Marinette Mayor Steve Genisot, Peshtigo Mayor Cathi Malke, McGinty, Olian and DNR personnel asking for informational background documents and confirmation of point of contact information. Schmidt also notified the parties that Olian would be reaching out to each of them to arrange initial meetings after receipt of these items. To avoid further delay, Boyle said she would follow-up with Schmidt to institute a timeline for the other stakeholders to complete these tasks.
Water Committee members also requested that Tyco/JCI Attorney Steven Wolfe, who was present at the Wednesday meeting, ask Tyco to look into the City of Marinette’s incomplete Ruekert & Mielke, Inc. (R/M) report. R/M is a Waukesha-based engineering firm that the city contracted to conduct an independent analysis of the impacts of various long-term water solution options. According to Genisot and several alderpersons, however, the full report was never completed. “If (the city) is not interested in having the report completed, that tells you where they are even if they’re in attendance (at the summit),” Boyle said.
The City of Peshtigo, another potential source of long-term water, is expected to participate in the mediated water discussions.