Unsafe levels of DNTs found in more private wells near Badger

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The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) informed CSWAB today that 2 more homes near Badger Army Ammunition Plant have levels of the explosive DNT (dinitrotoluene) above the safe drinking water standard.   These homes are in addition to 2 other homes on Keller Road that were already known to have DNT contamination.

The Army has contacted one homeowner; the other is out of town on vacation.  The Army will continue to provide both homes with bottled water.  The WDNR does not want to disclose the location of these wells until both homeowners have been notified.  While Olin Laboratories at Badger has conducted much of the water testing, some of the recent well water samples were sent to a laboratory in Pueblo Colorado.  This lab confirmed the presence of DNT in private well water. According to the WDNR, all nearby homes have been tested for DNT and none was detected.

Preliminary test results indicate that low levels of chloroform may also be present in some private wells near Badger.  Reported levels were below the safe drinking water standard of 6 parts per billion, WDNR said.  The highest level detected in private well water was 1 part per billion.  According to the WDNR, there are other potential sources of chloroform in groundwater besides Badger.  For example, chlorine bleach passing through a septic system and encountering organic matter in the aquifer can produce chloroform, WDNR said.  Badger, however, is the only possible source of DNT in the environment.  Test results for VOCs (volatile organic chemicals), which includes chloroform, are still pending for some private wells; these results will need to be validated.

The Army is working with the WDNR to develop a plan to ensure drinking water supplies are safe and to get a better understanding of offsite groundwater movement and quality.  The Army is planning to hold a public meeting to discuss this plan before limiting current private well testing and the provision of bottled water.  Until then, everyone that is currently on bottled water will continue to receive bottled water.  An informational meeting is tentatively planned for July 26.

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