Badger Groundwater Woes Worsen

by Free Speech on June 30, 2010

Lodi, WI~

Lodi Valley News serving Lodi, WI & the Lake Wisconsin area with local information since Earth Day 2008.

Monday’s Public Meeting Presents Newest Findings

On Monday night, the U.S. Army presented new laboratory test results showing rapidly increasing concentrations of explosives and other contaminants in groundwater monitoring wells at Badger Army Ammunition Plant and in nearby rural neighborhoods.  The public meeting of the Badger Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) began at 6:30 pm at the plant.

Since April 2008, levels of the carcinogenic explosive DNT in monitoring wells at Badger have increased from 13.7 micrograms per liter (ug/l) to more than 2,200 ug/l.  This newest result from March 2010 is more than 44,000 times the Health Advisory Level of 0.05 ug/l set by state health officials for drinking water.

In a June 24 update sent to RAB members, Army officials said that extraction wells capture and then treat groundwater inside Badger.  However contaminant levels in some groundwater monitoring wells outside the plant boundary are at an all time high.  Since 1992, concentrations of the carcinogenic solvent carbon tetrachloride in groundwater at County Z just north of the Village of Prairie du Sac have steadily increased from 3 to 90.1 ug/l.  Wisconsin’s groundwater standard for carbon tetrachloride is 5 ug/l.  Elsewhere beyond the extraction wells, between September 2007 and April 2009 ethyl ether concentrations increased from 8 to 1,740 ug/l.  The Health Advisory Level for ethyl ether in drinking water is 1,000 ug/l.

In addition to other recommendations, members of the Badger Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) are expected to ask the Army for expanded testing of nearby residential wells to include break-down products of DNT which are not included in current testing protocols.  Biological transformation of the explosive DNT produces compounds such as 2-amino-6-nitrotoluene (2A-6NT) which pose a risk to public health.  Since 2008, concentrations of 2A-6NT in groundwater at Badger have increased from 3 to 400 ug/l.  Wisconsin’s Health Advisory Level for 2A-6NT in drinking water is just 1 ug/l.

The Badger RAB will also consider a resolution asking the Army to renew the contract for an environmental consultant who, until recently, had been working with the board. A federal program provides local RABs with funding to hire independent technical support to help the public evaluate and understand the environmental problems that plague almost all military bases.  The selected consultant was to review a feasibility study for cleanup of the largest contaminated area at Badger – the 60-acre Settling Ponds and Spoils Disposal Area which spans the width of the plant from U.S. Highway 12 to the Wisconsin River.

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