Carcinogenic Solvent Levels Highest To Date

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Even though levels of trichloroethene (TCE) in groundwater are at an all time high in a monitoring well on the far west side of Badger Army Ammunition Plant (adjacent to the Bluffview Community in the Township of Sumpter), the WDNR remains unwilling to ask the Army to investigate the problem.

Beginning in Sept 2002, levels have risen from 0.7 parts per billion (ppb) to 25.0 ppb in December 2005, exceeding the safe drinking water standard of 5 ppb.

When unsafe levels of the carcinogenic solvent were detected in groundwater monitoring well BGM-9103 last spring, the WDNR asked the Army to test 6 residential wells located on Maple Park Drive, Maple Park Road, County C and Old Bluff Trail Road near Highway 12.  TCE was not detected in any of the wells.

Because the source of the contamination, groundwater flow direction, and potential contamination problems at depth are still unknown, CSWAB has been asking for an investigation for more than a year.

Even when TCE levels were nearly 3 times the safe standard (14.4 ppb) last summer, the WDNR wrote: “Given the relatively low concentrations in that well, at this point I am not going to ask the Army to complete additional investigation into possible sources, but will require them to continue sampling the well.  I think Army resources can be better used on other projects at the plant.  However, if the concentrations rise dramatically then I may change this position and require more efforts by the Army on this matter.”

To date, the WDNR hasn’t done anything.

Map compiled by CSWAB, 2006. Locations are approximate.

The contact at WDNR is Hank Kuehling at (608)275-3286 or email Harlan.Kuehling@dnr.state.wi.us

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