A community board overseeing environmental cleanup at Badger Army Ammunition Plant is urging the military to start testing two private wells that may be at risk for contamination but have not been tested for at least 20 years. The April 2 resolution signed by members of the Badger Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) supports regular testing of two residential wells located near Weigand’s Bay in rural Merrimac Township.
Board members said that the drinking water of an adjacent home has been regularly tested by the Army since 1988. Low levels of contamination detected in this residential well indicate that groundwater pollutants from the former military base have migrated beyond the plant boundary.
Both the U.S. Army and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources maintain that the requested testing is not warranted based on their understanding of groundwater movement in the area. However, board members said that there are no off-site monitoring wells necessary to characterize groundwater quality and contaminant movement near these homes. Other private wells located much farther away are regularly tested by the Army for explosives and solvents, board members said.
The Badger RAB was organized in 1993 by the Army to provide a forum for local residents to express their concerns and make recommendations about the plant’s environmental cleanup program. For nearly 20 years, the volunteer board has held regular public meetings with representatives of the U.S. Army, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and health officials. The RAB reviews groundwater test results, environmental studies and cleanup proposals – often with the support of independent technical consultants.
RAB members supporting the expanded testing are: 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), Richard Anderson (At Large Member), Lance Delaney (At Large Member), Bill Stehling (At Large Member), and Earl Cramer (Village of Prairie du Sac – Alternate). At Large board member LaVerne Kindschi declined.
The next meeting of the Badger RAB is tentatively scheduled for May 7 at 6:30 pm at the Prairie du Sac Town Hall. The public is welcome to attend. There is an opportunity for comment at the end of each meeting.