WDNR Responds to CSWAB’s Concerns

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PRESS RELEASE
For immediate release

SAUK PRAIRIE On Wednesday, February 6, WDNR officials met with
representatives of Badger Army Ammunition Plant to discuss the continued
exceedances of the sanitary wastewater treatment plant Total-Nitrogen
(Total-N) limit. The limit for discharge to groundwater was exceeded
each month since the Permit was reissued four months prior on October 1,
2001. According to the WDNR, the meeting constituted a verbal
Notification of Non-Compliance. “The violations are a continuation of
Total-N exceedances under the previous Permit,” the WDNR’s report said.

The WDNR meeting was scheduled following CSWAB’s recent report citing
133 violations of the Army’s Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination
System (WPDES) permit. In Wisconsin, WPDES permits are issued by the
WDNR’s Bureau of Watershed Management with federal oversight from the
EPA. No person may legally discharge to waters of the state without a
permit issued under this authority.

Solutions discussed at the meeting included discharging treated
effluent to Lake Wisconsin and adding a nitrifying bacteria and organic
source to the wastewater treatment plant. Relying on the continued
operation of a nearby groundwater treatment system to contain potential
contamination onsite was also discussed. As a result of the meeting,
Badger will be required to provide a written report to the WDNR by March
31 evaluating these and other alternatives, recommending a course of
action, and a project timeline.

The WDNR noted Olin Corporation is in the process of renegotiating its
operating contract that expires in March 2002 with the Army. The
contract may go through a competitive bidding process and other
potential contractors have indicated their interest.

The final disposition of the sanitary wastewater treatment facility
itself is also undecided. While the Ho-Chunk Nation has indicated their
interest in taking over Badger’s facility, the Town of Sumpter, Town of
Merrimac, and the Sauk County Boards have approved resolutions
requesting a 3-year delay to investigate wastewater alternatives, the
WDNR said.

CSWAB was organized in 1990 when groundwater contamination from the
Badger plant was discovered in nearby drinking water wells. The
community-led organization is working to get the closing military base
cleaned up and preserved as a green space for conservation and
agriculture.

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