2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: 22 Oct 2003 20:12:04 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] CSWAB Calls for Mercury Cleanup at Badger AAP
Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger
For Immediate Release October 21, 2003
For more information contact Laura Olah <info@cswab.org>

Mercury Levels Trigger Fish Advisory: 
CSWAB Calls for Cleanup

SUMPTER TOWNSHIP -- Certain people, who are more sensitive to mercury,
should not eat fish from the Ballistics Pond at Badger Army Ammunition
Plant.  According to a letter sent to 20 area residents that received a
permit to fish at Badger in the past, the level of mercury detected in
largemouth bass was 0.78 parts per million.  At this level, the
Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services (DHFS) said that
people that are more sensitive to mercury, including women of
childbearing age and children under 15 years old, should not any of
these fish.  Other people should not eat more than 13 meals per year of
these fish, DHFS said. 

The Ballistics Pond, once used as an evaporation and settling basin for
industrial wastewater, is one of 92 Wisconsin inland waters that warrant
a stronger fish consumption advisory than the general recommendations
for all Wisconsin waters.  The general statewide advisory recommends
that women of childbearing years and children under 15 should limit
themselves to one meal of panfish a week and one meal of gamefish a
month from inland waters.   

There are human health risks from regularly eating fish with high levels
of mercury, the DHFS said.  Mercury is a neurotoxin, meaning that it
affects the brain and nervous system.  Small children and especially
fetuses are the most at risk for damage from mercury poisoning because
their brains are still developing.  

The Ballistics Pond is a 10-acre pond located in the northwestern corner
of Badger.  The pond received filter backwash water from the water
treatment plant and is in close proximity to a rocket motor testing
site.  According to recent Army reports, the WDNR has determined that
the concentrations of mercury in sediment and fish tissue from the
Ballistics Pond do not warrant remediation.  

CSWAB is currently questioning the decision to not enforce cleanup of
the pond.  Recent testing at other sites, including Gruber's Grove Bay
on Lake Wisconsin, shows that Badger is a major source of mercury
contamination in and around the plant.  The group believes this new
information is both a basis and an opportunity to restore this important
surface water resource.  Without cleanup, recreational fishing,
hatcheries, and other sustainable future uses will not be possible.

"So often the scope of a cleanup project is not economically or
mechanically feasible but here the successful restoration of a healthy
aquatic ecosystem is readily attainable," said Laura Olah, Executive
Director of CSWAB.  "The mercury will not degrade over time; it will
only continue to accumulate in the environment.  The Army has the
<javascript:;> View of Ballistics Pond (Click to view larger
image)resources to clean it up."

The DHFS said the Army currently recommends to permit holders that they
eat no fish from the Ballistics Pond.  In the past, however, people have
been allowed to eat these fish.   

Anyone having any health questions or concerns about eating these fish
should contact Henry Nehls-Lowe, Bureau of Environmental Health (608)
266-3479.   To receive updates on this and other CSWAB campaigns, call
(608) 643-3124 or visit www.cswab.org.



Lenny Siegel
Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
c/o PSC, 278-A Hope St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/961-8918

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