Phase 2 Results

Phase 2 results reflects samples collected and analyzed in 2022 as part of the District’s ongoing PFAS sampling and analysis plan.

Similar to the first phase in 2021, we tested for 33 PFAS compounds, as outlined by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR). The District’s influent (incoming wastewater), effluent (outgoing, cleaned wastewater) and biosolids were tested.

In 2021, the District’s sampling plan was intended to take a single snapshot of PFAS levels in the wastewater system. A key change for Phase 2 committed was a switch to recurrent testing to begin generating a temporal data set to provide a more holistic view of the types and amounts of PFAS in our influent, effluent and biosolids. Influent and effluent were tested monthly, and biosolids quarterly.

Samples were collected by a consultant, TRC, using lab-accepted collection methodologies, and samples were analyzed by a lab certified by WDNR to conduct PFAS testing.

Overall, the results remain as expected based on the characteristics of the District’s service area.

Sampling Highlights

Released September 28, 2023

Influent (Incoming wastewater)

The District tested influent from each of its five large sewer pipes, called forcemains, which aggregate wastewater from the service area and deliver it to the plant. 

Examining all of the 33 compounds tested, the types of PFAS found in local wastewater is consistent with results from other municipal wastewater treatment plants in urbanized areas without significant industrial sources.

Table shows the flow-weighted average PFOA and PFOS for each month sampled in 2022

May 202103/2204/2205/2206/2207/2208/2209/2210/2211/2212/22Michigan Influent Study

PFOA (ppt)

PFOS (ppt)


Phase 1 snapshot data from May 2021 and Michigan Influent Study data included for comparison.​

Effluent (Outgoing wastewater)

The District cleans wastewater to river-quality water and returns it to local waterways.

The Department of Natural Resources approved surface water criteria for levels of PFOA and PFOS in Summer 2022. These criteria establish a threshold beyond which certain pollution minimization efforts must be undertaken. Our testing reveals PFOA and PFOS levels in the District’s effluent are lower than WDNR’s surface water criteria.

The waterways the District discharges to are not drinking water sources.

Table shows the effluent concentration for PFOA and PFOS for each month sampled in 2022

May 202103/2204/2205/2206/2207/2208/2209/2210/2211/2212/22WDNR Surface Water Criteria

PFOA (ppt)

9.7 - 11* J8.27.8118.57.86.595

PFOS (ppt) J4.

Phase 1 snapshot data from May 2021 and WDNR Surface Water Criteria for non-public drinking water sources included for comparison.

* Duplicate samples were taken in 2021.

J = Estimated; when the value is below the level of detection and the established cpapabilities of the instrument, it is considered estimated.


The District produces two biosolids products. The primary product is Metrogro, a liquid class B biosolids product that is land applied to local farm fields as a valuable, nutrient-rich fertilizer. The District also produces a small amount of class A cake. 

WDNR has not established PFAS standards but has published an interim strategy for land application of biosolids containing PFAS. The guidance provides a decision-making process for how to address PFAS in biosolids based on combined concentration levels of PFOA and PFOS. The District’s combined level in PFOA and PFOA falls into WDNR’s lowest category of 50 ppb and lower. Please see the interim strategy document for details.

Land application of Metrogro is the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly way for the District to dispose of the solid waste recovered from wastewater. Alternatives such as landfilling or incineration are costly and have additional impacts on the environment and human health. 

Class A Cake

May 2021March 2022June 2022September 2022December 2022Median Concentration 2022

PFOA (ppb)*

16 J1.7-1.7*212425.821

PFOS (ppb)

19 J9.7-9.9*24 I J1414.714

Combined Median PFOA + PFOS


Class B Metrogro

July 2021March 2022June 2022September 2022December 2022Median Concentration 2022

PFOA (ppb)*

1.2-1.6 J*1.3-1.4 J*1.3 J1.4 J1.2 J1.3

PFOS (ppb)

8.0-10.0 J*6.3-6.5*

Combined Median PFOA + PFOS


* Duplicate samples were taken.

J = Estimated; when the value is below the level of detection and the established cpapabilities of the instrument, it is considered estimated.

I = Ion transition ratio did not meet certain limits and is outside the quality control window

In the full report, numbers are reported as ug/kg, which is the same as ppb, or parts per billion. For context on ppb equivalents, see our About PFAS page.

Additional Information

For additional information about what the District is doing to address PFAS, check out the information below.

District PFAS Action Plan

The District's initial look at PFAS, including action steps. June 2019

Fate & Transport Review

A look at how PFAS move through the environment and cycles through wastewater treatments plants and their effluent. Produced by District consultant, TRC, February 2020.

Sampling & Analysis Blueprint

Guidance and procedures for conducting a comprehensive PFAS sampling plan. Produced by District consultant TRC, February 2020.

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