On June 14, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) directed the Army to identify and test private and community wells that are located to the west and south of Badger Army Ammunition Plant near Hwy 12.

As we reported last week, community members raised concerns about increasing levels of trichloroethylene (TCE) in a groundwater monitoring well located about 2500 feet south of Badger’s main gate at the plant boundary.

“The concentrations of TCE in (groundwater monitoring well) BGM-9103 appear to be climbing and as of now there hasn’t been an identified source,” the WDNR wrote. “This well is located just east of Hwy 12 and north of the S-curve on Hwy 12.  Groundwater flow in that area is likely south, southeast, but there aren’t a lot of wells near there to completely define groundwater flow direction.”

TCE was used mainly as a solvent to remove grease from metal parts and has been found in groundwater in other areas at Badger.  People who breathe air or drink water containing trichloroethylene may be at higher risk of cancer or of having reproductive effects. According to federal health officials, more and more studies suggest that more birth defects may occur when mothers drink water containing trichloroethylene.

The safe drinking water standard for TCE is 5 parts per billion.  Badger officials said that levels in groundwater have risen above this standard but precise results are not ready for public release.

“Should concentrations get much higher the Army will need to determine the source of this TCE, or show that the source originates on another property and is flowing on to Army property,” the WDNR concluded.

The WDNR said that nearby wells will be identified and tested in the next 4-6 weeks.