Safe Water Around Badger
Weigand’s Bay South - Merrimac, WI
643-3124 - Fax (608) 643-0005
email@example.com - Website: www.cswab.org
August 6, 2006
For Immediate Release
Threaten Merrimac Wells
– CSWAB is urging the WDNR to immediately expand testing of private
drinking water wells near the northeast corner of Badger Army Ammunition Plant in
the Town of Merrimac. The
recommendation follows confirmation of explosives in groundwater monitoring
wells along the plant boundary and more than a mile from the suspected
contaminant source inside the closing military base.
The community-based group is recommending that initial testing
of nearby private wells include all homes with 1/2 mile of any groundwater monitoring
well detecting contamination. This testing should be expanded to one mile
if any contamination is detected during the initial round of tests.
Moreover, CSWAB is recommending that this testing be
conducted on an ongoing basis as the Army has found that concentrations often vary
over time. Tracking these trends is important to understanding the scope
of the problem and the potential risk to public health.
Testing of private wells is a priority that will assure
that no one is unknowingly exposed to Badger contaminants through their
drinking water but this is not a long term solution to the problem. CSWAB
is urging local government to hire an independent consultant to look at the
long-term security of drinking water supplies in and near Badger.
The Deterrent Burning Grounds, located in the northeast
corner of Badger Army Ammunition Plant, is a known source of dinitrotoluene
(DNT) and other military toxins. DNT, which is actually a mixture of 6
different forms (isomers) of the chemical, was used in the manufacture of
propellants and is classified as a probable human carcinogen. For this
reason, the safe drinking water standard is only 0.05 parts per billion.
Unlike the neighborhoods south of Badger, where dozens of
monitoring wells have been installed as far south as the Village of Prairie du
Sac, there are no offsite monitoring wells in the Town of Merrimac. The
system of groundwater monitoring wells inside Badger is also inadequate.
Outside the immediate source area, groundwater wells monitor only the shallow
aquifer. Additional monitoring well nests (multiple wells screened at varying
depths) are needed to correctly measure water quality and movement.
The WDNR is currently requiring the Army to regularly
test a small number of private wells in the township but the majority of
private wells in the area have not been tested since 1992.
DNT was first detected at the northeast plant boundary in
2004 but WDNR staff did not believe that the Army’s data was reliable.
The WDNR subsequently required the Army to change its laboratory test
method. Test results from March 2006, which were recently released to the
public, confirm that DNT is present far from the source and is likely past the northeast
CSWAB representatives have already shared their concerns
and recommendations with members of the Merrimac Town board,
the Sauk County Board of Supervisors, the WDNR, the Army, and other local
OTHER AREAS OF CONCERN:
South of Badger, DNT and other groundwater contaminants
have been detected as far south as the Village of Prairie du Sac. The
Army is currently testing the public well for these chemicals and none has been
reported. The Army recently volunteered to test 67 additional private
wells near the southeast corner of Badger in the Town of Prairie du Sac,
including the Windings and Dam Heights
neighborhoods, later this month. Monitoring wells installed on private
properties in the area have detected low levels of DNT and other contaminants in
CSWAB is also pressing for expanded private well testing
on the west side of Badger in the Town of Sumpter where
very high levels of trichloroethylene, a carcinogenic solvent, have
contaminated the groundwater.
Laura Olah, Executive Director
Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger
E12629 Weigand's Bay South
Merrimac, WI 53561
Phone: (608) 643-3124