Badger Groundwater Contamination at All Time High

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CSWAB Presses for Swift Response and Better Testing

Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger is pressing the Army and state regulators for a swift response to new laboratory test results showing that concentrations of explosives and other contaminants are rapidly increasing in groundwater at Badger Army Ammunition Plant and in surrounding rural neighborhoods. Since April 2008, testing by the U.S. Army has confirmed that levels of the carcinogenic explosive DNT in monitoring wells at Badger have increased from 13.7 micrograms per liter (ug/l) to a current level of 2,223.3 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.

Army officials said that extraction wells capture and then treat groundwater inside Badger, however contaminant levels in some 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 drinking water standard for carbon tetrachloride is only 5 ug/l. Elsewhere beyond the extraction wells, between September 2007 and April 2009 ethyl ether concentrations have 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, CSWAB has asked the Army and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to expand testing of 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 monitoring wells at Badger have rapidly increased from 3 to 400 ug/l. Wisconsin’s Health Advisory Level for 2A-6NT in drinking water is just 1 ug/l.

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