Badger Army Ammunition Plant may be underestimating health risks posed by residual chromium contamination on land slated for transfer to the State of Wisconsin, especially when compared to other Army sites nationwide.
In a new report that has been submitted to state health officials, Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger (CSWAB) completed a survey of 12 Army sites nationwide and found that only Badger Army Ammunition Plant has calculated health-based soil cleanup goals based on total chromium, rather than the most toxic form of chromium which is chromium (VI).
At other U.S. Army facilities where testing for chromium was not speciated (reporting only total chromium), the Army invariably based cleanup goals and screening levels on chromium (VI) consistent with recommendations from federal and state health officials and regulators. Chromium (VI) is a known human carcinogen and mutagen, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
At the Army sites surveyed, chromium (VI) was associated with a variety of sources and activities including: evaporation/percolation ponds, open burning of military propellants, live firing, explosives wash-out wastewater facilities, TNT leaching beds and production, thermal treatment of small arms munitions, and open burning/open detonation of explosives. Many of these same activities occurred during active production years at the Badger site.
Army facilities with chromium contamination documented in CSWAB’s report are: Anniston Army Depot (AL), Badger Army Ammunition Plant (WI), Iowa Army Ammunition Plant, Isla de Vieques Bombing Range (Puerto Rico), Louisiana Army Ammunition Plant, Radford Army Ammunition Plant (VA), Ravenna Army Ammunition Plant (OH), Riverbank Army Ammunition Plant (CA), Sacramento Army Depot (CA), Sierra Army Depot (CA), Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant (KS), and Volunteer Army Ammunition Plant (TN).
CSWAB has submitted a formal request to the Wisconsin Division of Public Health asking state health officials to review and comment on the Army’s methodology at the Badger site.