Badger Board Calls for Clean Groundwater
Members of the Badger Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) signed a joint letter this week calling for a solution to groundwater contamination from Badger Army Ammunition Plant that protects farmers, restores groundwater, and prevents contamination from entering nearby rivers, wetlands and natural springs.
At the regular public meeting on April 2, board members co-signed a letter to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources which encourages a groundwater remedy that will “prevent undue economic hardship to local farmers and area residents, protect and prevent contamination of existing and future livestock and irrigation wells, and promote farmland preservation as consistent with town plans and zoning.”
Local dairy farmers, graziers, stables, and other farm operators would be expected to abandon their existing livestock wells and pay for water from the proposed municipal water system, if the military’s plan is approved. The Army has offered to pay well closure costs but no new wells would be allowed due to the risk of contamination.
The Army’s preferred solution for groundwater contamination – having the lowest cost to the military – includes the installation of a public water supply system combined with the shutdown of a groundwater treatment system. The system captures solvents and explosives that would otherwise discharge to the Lower Wisconsin Riverway just north of the Village of Prairie du Sac. Two other groundwater contaminant plumes would be monitored but no active cleanup would be pursued if the Army’s proposal is approved.
The RAB letter pushes for active cleanup that will achieve “prompt compliance” with groundwater standards and prevent contamination of lakes, wetlands, and aquatic ecosystems.
The Badger RAB is an independent public body established to provide policy and technical advice on key environmental restoration decisions at Badger. Members represent a cross-section of individuals impacted by environmental contamination from the closing military base and include representatives of local, county, state, and federal government.
Co-signers included Ronald Lins (Town of Prairie du Sac and RAB co-chair), Craig J. Hamilton (Town of Merrimac), Laura Olah (Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger), Michele Hopp (Village of Merrimac), Judy Ashford (Sauk County Board), Mary Carol Solum (At Large Member), Mary Jane Koch (At Large Member), Bill Wenzel (Village of Prairie du Sac), Ken Lins (At Large Member), Chris Hanson (At Large Member), Charlie Wilhelm (At Large Member), Lance Delaney (At Large Member), Bill Stehling (At Large Member), and Earl Cramer (Village of Prairie du Sac – Alternate). Board member LaVerne Kindschi declined.
The deadline for submitting public comment to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has been extended until Thursday, April 12 at 5 pm. Written comments may be sent to Jeff Ackerman, WDNR, 3911 Fish Hatchery, Madison, WI 53711 or by email to Jeff.Ackerman@wisconsin.gov .
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Laura Olah, Executive Director
Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger (CSWAB)
E12629 Weigand’s Bay South
Merrimac, WI 53561