Nearby Sumpter Homes Will Be Tested

For immediate release

For more information, contact:
Laura Olah, Executive Director, CSWAB (608) 643-3124

SUMPTER In yet another area of Badger Army Ammunition Plant,
groundwater contamination is approaching the plant boundary — this
time in the Township of Sumpter. Elevated levels of the explosive DNT
(dinitrotoluene) have been detected in monitoring wells at the southern
boundary of Badger near Keller Road. While test results have been
available for several months, today was the first time this information
was shared with the public.

At a meeting today at the Cedarberry Inn in Sauk City, Olin
representatives said they discovered unsafe levels of DNT in August.
They said at least one monitoring well near Keller Road had DNT levels
at the enforcement standard of 0.05 ppb (parts per billion). Lab tests
suggest low levels of DNT may also be present in other boundary wells
but these levels could not be quantified. Olin Corporation is the
operating contractor for Badger and responsible for monitoring
groundwater quality at the plant.

Representatives of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Army Environmental
Center, Olin Corporation, consulting firm Stone & Webster, U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), Wisconsin Department of Natural
Resources (WDNR), and the U.S. Army were gathered today to discuss
funding priorities for environmental cleanup at Badger for the coming
fiscal year. Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger (CSWAB), an
environmental group organized in 1990 by neighbors of the Badger plant,
was invited to attend as a representative of the Badger Restoration
Advisory Board.

Following the announcement, CSWAB met with representatives of the WDNR,
the USEPA, and Army contractors and requested nearby residential wells
be immediately tested. Olin representatives said a number of nearby
wells are already being regularly tested but agreed to contact
additional homeowners next week to collect drinking water samples.

The suspected source of the groundwater contamination is an area known
as the Spoils Disposal Area. The “spoils” are dredged materials
originally located in the Settling Ponds a series of 4 man-made ponds
that carried all of Badger’s sanitary and industrial wastewater during
active production years. Soil sampling at the Spoils Disposal Area
shows that mercury, nitroglycerine, lead, and DNT’s are contaminants of

Some people at the meeting speculated that the significant rain events
this Spring may have accelerated the migration of contaminants to
groundwater, but it is too early to know this. In order to help
determine the extent of any potential groundwater problems, the USEPA
recommended Badger install four monitoring well nests inside Badger just
south of the Spoils Disposal Area. A well nest is a group of 3 wells
screened at different depths.

The detection of DNT is too far east to be part of the contaminated
groundwater plume located on the western edge of Badger, Olin said.
This plume is associated with another disposal site known as the
Propellant Burning Grounds and flows from inside Badger south under
County Hwy Z and finally to the Wisconsin River. The principal
contaminants associated with this western plume are trichloroethylene,
chloroform, carbon tetrachloride, and DNT’s. Only DNT was detected in
the monitoring wells located north of Keller Road, Olin said.

Olin said it is currently waiting for results from monitoring well
samples collected in September.