Hilgenberg Urges DNR to Address BAAP Groundwater Contaminants

by Free Speech on December 10, 2009

Lodi, WI~

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

Lodi, WI

On behalf of residents in his district, State Representative Steve Hilgenberg is encouraging the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to respond to concerns about unregulated groundwater contaminants originating from the Badger Army Ammunition Plant (BAAP).

“In specific, local stakeholders are concerned that 2 of the 6 forms of DNT are unregulated by state groundwater standards, that unregulated forms of DNT have been found in residential neighborhoods in Sauk County, particularly near Weigand’s Bay, and that the U.S. Army is not performing the level of testing needed to identify and eradicate harmful contaminants, as well as determine the path of contaminated groundwater near BAAP,” Hilgenberg says in his November 24 letter to the DNR’s Bureau of Drinking Water and Groundwater.

The DNR recently received approval from the Natural Resources Board to hold public hearings related to the addition of 15 new substances to the State’s groundwater quality standards including all forms of dinitrotoluene (DNT) – a carcinogenic explosive that has contaminated dozens of drinking water wells near Badger in the rural townships of Merrimac, Sumpter and Prairie du Sac.  Based on recommendations from senior toxicologists at the Wisconsin Division of Public Health, all 6 isomers (forms) of DNT will be regulated as a single entity.  The standard is 0.05 parts per billion – equivalent to the current Health Advisory Level (HAL) recommended by state health officials.

“As you know, the cleanup at BAAP is largely designed to eliminate groundwater contaminants related to the past production of explosives and munitions,” Hilgenberg said. “Accordingly, revisions to NR 140 could give local health organizations the means to enforce suitable groundwater/drinking water standards, and I’d like to take this opportunity to reiterate our concerns and encourage continued intergovernmental cooperation.”

Local environmental group Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger (CSWAB) first petitioned the DNR to establish enforceable standards for DNT in 2006.  The group is actively supporting DNR’s proposed health standard for DNT but would like the proposed health standard for perchlorate – an explosive compound used in rocket motors – lowered from 7 parts per billion (ppb) to 1 ppb to be more protective of infants and children who are most susceptible to harm.

“I understand that the DNR is processing feedback from local stakeholders and health experts that have submitted comments related to NR 140 and groundwater contamination related to the production of explosives and munitions,” Hilgenberg said.  “I appreciate all the work (DNR is) doing with these groups to implement dependable groundwater protections.”

In Wisconsin, the 2,3-DNT isomer has been detected in 103 groundwater and private water wells at concentrations as high as 2,200 ppb.  The 3,4-DNT isomer has been detected in 37 wells at levels as high as 419 ppb.  The 3,5-DNT isomer has been detected in 20 wells at concentrations as high as 23.9 ppb and the 2,5-DNT isomer has been detected in wells at concentrations as high as 1.5 ppb.


Written comments on the amendments to ch. NR 140, Wis. Adm. may be submitted until December 30, 2009 via U.S. mail to: Mike Lemcke, Wisconsin DNR, Bureau of Drinking Water & Groundwater, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI, 53707 or by email to: Michael.Lemcke@Wisconsin.gov.  Written comments, whether submitted electronically or by U.S. mail, will have the same weight and effect as oral statements presented at the public hearings.  For more information or a copy of the proposed rule and fiscal estimate contact Mike Lemcke at – (608) 266-2104.  The hearings will be held on the following dates at the locations listed:

·         December 11, Madison – 10 a.m., in the State Natural Resources Building (GEF 2), Room G09, 101 South Webster St.
·         December 14, Baraboo – 10 a.m. at the Sauk County – UW Extension, West Square Administration Building, Room B30, 505 Broadway.
·         December 15, Eau Claire – 10 a.m. at the Eau Claire State Office Building, Room 139, 718 West Clairemont Ave.
·         December 15, Stevens Point – 4 p.m. at the UW-Stevens Point, Communications Arts Center (CAC), Room 211, 1101 Reserve St.
·         December 16, Oshkosh – 10 a.m. at the UW-Oshkosh, Halsey Science Center, Room 259, 921 Elmwood Ave.

For more information, contact:

Laura Olah, Executive Director
Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger (CSWAB)
E12629 Weigand’s Bay South
Merrimac, WI  53561
(608) 643-3124

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