The State of Wisconsin could be required to accept responsibility for pesticides that were used by the military on Badger Army Ammunition Plant lands, according to pending land transfer documents prepared by the Army. Draft language shifting responsibility from the Army to land recipients coincides with a new federal policy which could require cleanup of residual pesticides found in soil.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently determined that the Army is required to remediate residual pesticides left in soil if they are no longer serving their intended uses. The Army and EPA are currently at odds over this policy which requires that residual pesticides can be regulated as hazardous waste and trigger cleanup requirements.
EPA determined that pesticide residues that are considered “discarded” are a solid waste that is subject to environmental regulation. The determination is dependent on site-specific factors such as plans to demolish buildings or future land use plans. For example, at the Kansas Army Ammunition Plant, EPA found that residual termite treatments on buildings that were later demolished were subject to such regulation.
At Badger Army Ammunition Plant, the Army recently released a draft Finding of Suitability of Transfer (FOST) for three land parcels that are slated for transfer to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The land parcels consist of a total of 503.68 acres and no buildings. The Army previously used this land for the manufacture of double-base propellant used in rocket motors.
The draft FOST contains language which would require the State to accept responsibility and liability for any action with regard to the property, including any disturbance of soil that could result in a release or exposure to pesticides residues that may be present in soils. The property is intended to be transferred for recreational activities and the expansion of Devil’s Lake State Park, the draft FOST states.
Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger has asked state and federal regulators to help clarify the potential implications for the environment and future use at Badger. More information is available on the organization’s website at www.cswab.org .