2002 CPEO Military List Archive

From: olah@speagle.com
Date: 16 Jan 2002 15:04:28 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] CSWAB Update: Badger Reports 133 Violations of Nitrogen Discharge Lim


Press Release


For more information contact:

Laura Olah, Executive Director, 608/643-3124

January 15, 2002

Badger Reports 133 Violations of Nitrogen Discharge Limits

MERRIMAC -- Between April 5, 2000 and August 30, 2001, total nitrogen
discharges from Badger Army Ammunition Plant's sanitary wastewater 
facility violated permit limitations 133 times. Even with so-called 
"tweaking" of the system in recent years, it fails to meet the Daily 
Maximum Limit of 10 mg/l (milligrams per liter) for discharge to 
groundwater.  According to Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger 
(CSWAB), the exceedance levels ranged from 10.14 to 26.33 mg/l. Overall, 
the average exceedance was more than 16 mg/l.

Although Badger's sanitary system has violated nitrogen limits for many 
years, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) officials said 
they have hesitated to enforce environmental standards because the 
future of the Badger facility has been an unknown. Now that future use 
seems more certain, the WDNR said it intends to meet with Army officials 
and encourage them to seek outside professional expertise to improve the 
current system's performance. Badger's in-house staff has not been able 
to solve the problem, WDNR said.

Nitrate is a water-soluble molecule made up of nitrogen and oxygen. High 
nitrate levels in drinking water pose a risk to infants. Infants who are 
fed water or formula made with water that is high in nitrate can develop 
a condition called methemoglobinemia. The condition is also called "blue 
baby syndrome" because the skin appears blue-gray and is caused by a 
lack of oxygen in the blood. Wisconsin's safe drinking water standard 
for nitrates is 10 mg/l measured as nitrogen.

"According to the Wisconsin Department of Health and Social Services,
scientific studies have found evidence suggesting that women who drink
nitrate-contaminated water during pregnancy are more likely to have 
babies with birth defects," said Laura Olah, Executive Director of 
CSWAB. "Some experts believe that long-term ingestion of water high in 
nitrate may increase the risk of certain types of cancer."

The WDNR admits Badger is not being treated the same as other local
wastewater treatment systems. In Sauk County, the agency has required 
the Village of Merrimac and Devil's Head Resort to upgrade their systems 
to meet current groundwater standards. Permits for both these facilities 
will likely be issued in the next month or two. The Ho-Chunk facility 
near Wisconsin Dells has a new system that is also meeting all the 
standards, WDNR said.

There are a number of newer technologies that can readily achieve the
nitrate discharge standard, WDNR said.  A full upgrade of Badger's 
current system would probably cost $1-2 million and would likely take as 
long as 4 years to get in place and fully operational, they added.  
Improving the current system will be necessary to protect groundwater 
resources in the interim years.  Such improvements could be accomplished 
with a relatively small amount of money, the WDNR said.

Badger's municipal wastewater treatment plant discharges to Final Creek 
and is a permitted groundwater discharge. The facility receives 
wastewater from Badger's administration buildings and Bluffview, a 
housing development directly west across US 12, serving about 500 
people. Average flow is 56,000 gallons per day.

The WDNR said it intends to treat the Army the same as other local
owner/operators and will require an upgrade that meets environmental 
health standards. CSWAB has asked that this process be initiated as soon 
as possible.

"The Army should be held to the same standards as everyone else," Olah 
said. "The health of our community and our future depends on it."


Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger
E12629 Weigand's Bay South
Merrimac, WI  53561
phone (608)643-3124
fax (608)643-0005 alt fax (608)643-2682
Email: olah@speagle.com
Website: http://www.cswab.com

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