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Public cautioned not to eat fish from La Crosse River pond near Sparta due to PFAS

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The public is being advised against consuming certain fish from a Monroe County fishing pond after sampling for PFAS returned positive.

According to a release from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources on Wednesday, sampling that was done last spring revealed elevated levels of PFOS were found in several fish species from Angelo Pond.

Angelo Dam and Pond

This Tribune file photo from 2012 shows the Angelo Dam with the Angelo Pond in the background in Sparta. The pond is a reservoir of the LA Crosse River and a variety of fish species from the pond have recently tested positive for PFAS, prompting a consumption advisory.

PFOS are a type of PFAS, a group of "forever chemicals" plaguing the area, state and nation's waterways. The chemicals are man made, toxic, and don't naturally break down over time, and can be found in a variety of household products such as non-stick cookware, fast food wrappers and more.

Angelo Pond is a 53-acre impoundment of the La Crosse River near Sparta, according to the DNR, that resides just west of Fort McCoy. Fish from nearby Silver Creek also tested positive for PFAS last spring, prompting a similar consumption advisory.

This latest fish consumption advisory is for bluegill, crappie, largemouth bass and northern pike that are caught from the La Crosse River above the Angelo Dam, otherwise known as Angelo Pond.

The public is now advised to limit its consumption of bluegill that are caught in the pond to one meal a week, and one meal a month for the other species.

The DNR did not immediately reveal the source of the PFAS contamination at Angelo Pond, or the levels of PFAS that were found in the fish samples.

Locally, PFAS have become a familiar nuisance. On French Island in La Crosse County, more than 500 private wells have tested positive for PFAS, and many residents are currently relying on bottled water.

The contamination on the island is believed to have in part derived from firefighting foam used at the nearby La Crosse Regional Airport, though other sources are being investigated.

Other fish consumption advisories have been issued around the state due to PFAS-contaminated fish, including in the Yahara River in Madison and the Peshtigo River in northern Wisconsin.

The DNR said it is continuing to sample in coordination with Fort McCoy.

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