In written comments submitted today, Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger (CSWAB) is challenging the U.S. Army and the Wisconsin DNR to require additional environmental cleanup at the closing Badger Army Ammunition Plant before portions of the property are transferred to the State.
“For the majority of contaminated sites at Badger, the WDNR and the Army are not looking at potential risks to wildlife or risks to humans through the food chain,” said Laura Olah, Executive Director of CSWAB. “Our goal is to assure that agricultural research, wildlife and grassland bird habitat, managed grazing, and other planned future uses are successful.
The group found that additional steps are needed to eliminate certain contaminant sources, such as wood preservatives, paints, pesticides, and road oil, as potential ecological and environmental health concerns.
“Certain contaminants such as DDT, PCBs, and mercury are persistent bioaccumulative toxins that may have long term implications for the local ecology and human health,” Olah said.
In anticipation of transfer of portions of the closing base to new owners, the Army has invited public comment on documents that describe the environmental condition of the property. Known as the Finding of Suitability for Transfer, the document discusses lead, asbestos, explosives, and other environmental toxins that may be present at the plant.
The Army report says that there is no further environmental cleanup necessary on about 1,188 of the roughly 1,800 acres that the WDNR will soon own. The area extends from the northeast corner of the plant from Devil’s Lake State Park south to the Dairy Forage Research Center.
“Our understanding of the potential harm caused by exposure to environmental toxins is much different than years ago – now we know better,” Olah added. “By accomplishing the best possible cleanup now, we assure that future generations enjoy a safe, healthy, and productive future.”
A complete copy of CSWAB’s comments is available below. Community members will have until Feb. 15 to offer their comments on Army documents.