PFAS in Firefighting Foam at Wisconsin Fire Departments

News Release: DNR asking Wisconsin Fire Departments to Report Use of PFAS-Containing Firefighting Foam. February 6, 2020.

MADISON, Wis. – A statewide survey on the use and storage of PFAS-containing firefighting foams at Wisconsin fire departments is currently being conducted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Survey Center (UWSC), on behalf of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The survey began on Jan. 13 and will end March 17, 2020. Results are expected in early April.

“All PFAS-containing foams have the potential to create an adverse environmental impact if released into the environment, particularly if the foam solutions reach drinking water sources, groundwater or surface waters. Knowing where this foam is will help us ensure that the environment is protected from its damaging effects,” said Secretary-designee Preston D. Cole.

The survey coincides with Governor Evers’ signing of 2019 Wisconsin Act 101 on Feb. 5, a bipartisan bill that prohibits the use of firefighting foam that contains perfluoroalkyl or polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) unless the use is part of an emergency firefighting or fire prevention operation or the use is for testing purposes. The bill calls for prevention measures to keep PFAS-containing foam out of the environment, requires rulemaking for storage, requires the DNR be notified when PFAS-containing foam is used, and requires documentation from those that have this type of foam.

PFAS are part of a large group of synthetic chemicals used in industry and consumer products worldwide since the 1950s. PFAS are often present in the firefighting foams used for petroleum and other high-hazard flammable liquid fires. PFAS are highly persistent, may be highly mobile, and some bioaccumulate in organisms. PFAS are also not removed or destroyed by conventional wastewater treatment processes, unlike many other hazardous substances.

The primary, immediate, goal of the survey is to identify how much PFAS-containing foam concentrate is stored at fire departments around the state. This information will help inform a cost estimate of a potential statewide collection and disposal efforts. In addition to Act 101, Senate Bill 717 proposes a voluntary clean sweep effort for this type of foam.

Along with the data collection and analysis, the survey will help the DNR build a strong and mutually beneficial relationship with the firefighting community of Wisconsin.

“Working together we can ensure that alternative foams are both highly effective for fire suppression and much safer for the environment, which then protects the health of firefighters and the communities they serve,” Cole said.

Wisconsin joins Minnesota, Michigan, Vermont, Massachusetts, New York, Colorado and other states in working with local fire departments to address the environmental and human health risks associated with PFAS.

Accepting Employment Applications!

We are currently accepting employment applications for CDL Driver/ Environmental Field Technician positions in our Fond du Lac and Germantown locations.

North Shore is an environmental contractor that performs environmental and industrial services and provides emergency spill response cleanup.

This is a labor intensive position that consists of industrial maintenance cleaning, tank cleaning, site remediation and providing emergency spill response functions. Additional responsibilities include to safely drive equipment to and from job sites, operate equipment, haul and dispose of waste at landfills and disposal facilities.

Out of town work and overtime can be expected, as well as being part of our on call rotation for our emergency spill response service.

Why North Shore?

  • We are a leader in providing industrial, environmental and emergency spill response services.
  • Our steady, strategic growth involves a great team that is committed to providing quality work.
  • We are family owned and operated.
  • We invest energy and resources on training each year for our employees.
  • We reward hard work and dedication.

Join us if you relish new challenges and evolving technology, thrive in an environment that is growing, enjoy collaborating with your teammates, bring a positive work attitude everyday and have a desire to learn new tasks and operate new equipment.


  • Clean driving record with a valid driver’s license
  • Must pass pre-employment and random drug screens
  • Ability to work nights, weekends, and out of town (when needed)
  • CDL A w/ Tank endorsement


  • CDL A w/ Tank and hazmat endorsements and ability to drive manual transmission

Preferred Skills:

  • Experience handling light and heavy equipment, industrial vacuum trucks, roll offs
  • 40 hour Hazardous waste site worker training
  • Minimum two years’ experience in industrial maintenance or hazmat spill cleanup response

Benefits Summary:

  • Full-Time
  • Paid Time Off
  • Health Insurance
  • Competitive Wages

Email resume to: or call us at 262-255-4468 for a job application.

Salvage Yard Cleanup

Firefighters from nearly two dozen departments responded to the scene of a five alarm fire at an auto salvage yard.  There was a lot of damage, including burned structures, automobiles and debris.  The Highway was closed for several hours due to the dangerous situation.  North Shore was contacted by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to cleanup the site.  North Shore used their Hi Vac vacuum truck to cleanup the oily water.  Absorbent boom was used to contain any runoff.  A dozer and excavator were used during the cleanup, and contaminated soil was dumped into a roll off box.  A frac tank, including spill containment, was also used at the site.

North Shore finalized the cleanup and provided transportation and disposal of the oily water and soil.

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North Shore opens a second office in Fond du Lac!

North Shore Environmental Construction (NSEC) is pleased to announce they opened a second office in the Fond du Lac area.  We are proud to be able to offer our services to clients in the area, throughout Wisconsin and the Midwest.

Our services include, but are not limited to:

  • Emergency spill response 365 days 24/7
  • Industrial cleaning
  • Tank cleaning and removal
  • Confined space entry, standby and rescue
  • Hazardous and non-hazardous waste cleanup, sampling, disposal and transportation
  • Air monitoring – real time
  • Soil excavation and disposal
  • Remediation
  • Water treatment

Our Project Managers, Supervisors and Field Technicians are 40 hour Hazwoper trained with an 8 hour refresher, and have the following training, but not limited to: 10 hour construction, confined space entry and rescue, fall protection, aerial platform, personnel protective equipment (PPE) selection and use, respirator fit testing and fire protection.  They have annual baseline physicals and receive continuous safety training to comply with the OSHA requirements for Health & Safety.

NSEC is a member of ISNetworld, a safety and compliance organization, that collects safety, procurement and sustainability information about NSEC for ISNetworld’s client owners.

NSEC is an all hazards cleanup responder for the Wisconsin DNR.

NSEC uses specialized equipment, tools, and PPE to assure the highest safety possible.  Our list of equipment includes: PPE up to level A, hand equipment, air monitoring meters including a Gasmet DX4040, hazardous waste roll off boxes, vacuum boxes, Super sucker vacuum truck, liquid vacuum trucks, Hi vac vacuum trucks, pressure washers, water blasters, skidsteers, mini excavators, quad axle dump trucks, roll off trucks, pumps and heavy equipment.

NSEC is a licensed transporter for special waste in Wisconsin and Illinois, licensed to haul hazardous waste and is an USEPA listed TSCA registered transporter.

Visit us at:

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North Shore Environmental Construction, Inc.
W4559 Lakepark Drive
Fond du Lac, WI 54935
Phone: (920) 933-3359

A Big Thank You!

NEW IN 2018 – Stay tuned for new surprises from North Shore in 2018!  As we close out 2017, our sincere thanks for the gift of business and partnership with our clients, colleagues and business associates.  All of us at North Shore appreciate everyone’s confidence and loyalty, and thank you for your continued business and support.  We look forward to meeting new business associates and providing our services to all.  We extend our very best wishes for a successful 2018!

Here’s a look back at our work in 2017.














Don’t just take our word for it!

Don’t just take our word for it! See what others are saying about North Shore!
I have had the pleasure of working with North Shore Environmental Construction, Inc. (North Shore) in multiple capacities over the past four years. In my role as a regulator for the State of Wisconsin, I regularly corresponded with North Shore regarding emergency spill response in Northeast Wisconsin and state wide. In that capacity, North Shore always responded in a timely and professional manner, was forthright with questions, excellent at problem solving difficult situations during emergency response and with follow through in submittal of spill response reports.

In my new role as an Environmental Project Manager for General Engineering Company, I have had the opportunity to collaborate with North Shore on multiple projects and their attention to detail, customer service, communication, work ethic and follow through, continue to make them one of my go to firms and resources in the environmental field. I look forward to future collaborations.

Beth Erdman, Environmental Project Manager
General Engineering Company

Decommissioning work is underway at the General Motors plant in Janesville

The General Motors plant in Janesville is being decommissioned.  North Shore Environmental Construction, Inc. has set up operation on-site and is cleaning up parts of the 4 + million-square-foot facility.

Read the Gazette article titled “GM ramps up decommissioning of Janesville assembly” which is located here

Accepting employment applications for our Haz Mat Technician position

Hiring Now!

We are currently accepting employment applications for our Haz Mat Technician position.

This is a labor intensive position that consists of industrial maintenance and emergency spill response functions (Our Emergency Response Service is 24/7). Out of town work and overtime can be expected, as well as being part of our on call rotation.

Preferred Skills:

  • 40 hour Hazardous waste site worker training
  • CDL with Tank and Hazmat endorsements
  • Experience handling light and heavy equipment, industrial vacuum trucks, roll offs
  • Minimum two years’ experience in industrial maintenance or haz mat spill cleanup response

Benefits Summary:

  • Full-Time
  • Paid Time off
  • Health Insurance
  • Competitive wages (Pay commensurate with experience)
  • Being part of a great team

For more information on what we do visit us at

Email resume to:

Fax resume to:
262-255-6993 or mail to:
NSEC, Inc.
N117 W18493 Fulton Dr.
Germantown, WI 53022


An Elementary School Evacuated after a Mercury Scare

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) – North Shore responded to an emergency mercury spill at Lincoln Elementary School in Green Bay. Here is the story from WBAY-TV.

Classes are canceled at Lincoln Elementary School in Green Bay after a mercury scare. Students and staff should not come to the school, and the public is asked to stay off the school grounds, including the playground, until a hazardous materials team has finished its cleanup.

Principal Angela Hager says a student brought a vial to school which a silver substance they believe to be mercury. Hager says they were playing with it on the playground then brought it into the school.

“The students did open up the vial and they were moving it around, so some of it did get spilled,” Nick Craig, Green Bay Metro Fire Department said.

The fire department estimates 3 milliliters (mL) of the metal was spilled — that’s a little more than half a teaspoon.

Students were evacuated around 11 o’clock Tuesday morning after concerns about a possible mercury spill. They were initially outside of the school for half an hour, then sent back inside the building.

About 250 students attend the school on Buchanan Street on the city’s west side.

Students were reunited with their parents late Tuesday afternoon only after each student was checked by a hazardous materials team to ensure they’re mercury-free.

The principal says six fifth-graders, boys and girls, were directly exposed, playing with the substance with their hands.

Hazmat teams were called up from Madison and Milwaukee with newer, specialized devices to test all the students. That equipment picked up elevated levels of mercury on those six students who came into direct contact with it, and also detected it in parts of the school.

The fire department says the safety threshold for mercury contamination is rated a 10, and there were some areas of the school that tested at a 10. Most of the school was a 5 or less.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says when mercury releases toxic fumes and the health effects from low levels of exposure are unknown. Very high vapor concentrations can cause severe lung damage, and exposure over time to low vapor concentrations cause skin rashes, kidney abnormalities and memory problems.

All of the students were kept in a “determined safe area” of the school following the evacuation and were served lunch in the safe area. The district says students were required to be checked by medical personnel, and then each one was tested by a hazmat team.

“With that device they can basically wand kids and stick it near shoes and clothing, and in 30 or 40 seconds it can determine the presence of mercury,” Craig explained.

Students were finally released to parents and guardians around 4:30 — an hour past their usual dismissal. Parents were asked to bring a coat or blanket because the children couldn’t go home with the coat they wore to school.

“I raced down here and I was very upset, I was crying,” Alicia Goodwin, whose granddaughter attends Lincoln, said.

Because mercury contamination was on some of the students’ shoes, those students had to surrender them. Shopko donated shoes for those students to go home with.

“We do not want students to go home and then bring the mercury home if they have any mercury on their shoes,” Hager said.

Fire officials say with such a small amount of the substance, they don’t believe there is a large health risk to the public.

All after-school events Tuesday were canceled, including the winter concert and a cookie/craft event.

To view the full story, click Here

Dousman Transportation Company Bus Barn Fire

Fire at Dousman Transportation Company in Waukesha County

IN THE NEWS – North Shore responded to a large diesel fuel spill Sunday, after more than 30 buses had been engulfed in flames at the Dousman Transportation Company in Merton. In total, 35 buses as well as the bus barn were destroyed by the fire .

“Normally if you had a fire, that fuel would probably go up in the fire. A lot of that diesel might have burned up in the fire – but when they`re throwing water on it and it`s maybe coming out of the tanks, it`s also flowing out with the runoff,” Keith Hitzke said.

North Shore estimates that 200 to 400 gallons of diesel fuel from the buses may have contaminated the soil in the surrounding area. NSEC technicians continue to work on the clean up. To view the full story, click HERE