2005 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: 22 Feb 2005 05:30:40 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Water system at Badger Ammo Plant
Submitted by Laura Olah <info@cswab.org>

PRESS RELEASE February 18, 2005 

Old Drinking Water System Placed Badger Workers at Risk

The drinking water supply for thousands of former Badger Army Ammunition
Plant workers had "hundreds of direct connections" between the potable
and process water distribution systems. As a result, the potential
existed for contaminated process water to discharge into the potable
water system. Unable to get a response from local Army officials, CSWAB
is demanding that health officials, regulators, and Army headquarters
investigate the potential risks to human health.  

The water supply system at Badger Army Ammunition Plant historically had
"hundreds of direct connections" between the process water piping and
production tanks and vessels separated only by gate valves. Constructed
in 1942, the original system had numerous construction non-conformities
with current Wisconsin potable water codes. Major among these were
cross-connections with sewers and process piping systems and an open
treated water reservoir. 

According to a public records search by CSWAB, the potable water system
in production areas which utilized large volumes of water, including the
acid, nitroglycerin, and rocket productions areas, had little or no
backflow protection. As a result, the potential existed for recycled
recovered water to discharge into the potable water system utilized by
thousands of workers at the former military base. 

At two consecutive public meetings, CSWAB asked Badger officials to
provide documentation to the public and the local township showing that
nonconformities at the base have been resolved. Because the information
has not been forthcoming, CSWAB has sent formal inquiries to the
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) and the Commander of
the U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion & Preventive Medicine
(USACHPPM) in Maryland regarding the current status of all wells and
water supply systems at Badger. 

An interim reply from the WDNR said that the agency will be "inspecting
the Badger systems within the next few weeks". CSWAB has also sent a
formal inquiry to the Wisconsin Division of Health asking for an
investigation of the potential risks to people that worked at Badger
prior to the 1990's.

In 1986, the U.S. Army Environmental Hygiene Agency determined that a
viable cross-connection control/backflow prevention program was "sorely
needed at this installation". Prior to 1988, the water supply systems at
Badger Army Ammunition Plant never officially received State approval to
operate. According to historical documents, the WDNR designated the
water supply system at Badger as a "non-community supply" and no
monitoring requirements were imposed upon the installation. Army
officials said Badger voluntarily tested drinking water however CSWAB
has been unable to get access to these records.

It was not until 1990 that the "first phase" of a separate potable water
system was constructed to serve the 225 maintenance and administrative
staff members then working at Badger. One of the steps in this
changeover, the conversion of one of the existing wells to a potable
water supply for the administration buildings was accomplished at this
time, WDNR records said. Employees were subsequently directed and
trained, Army records said, to only drink water from the new potable
water system. 

Some active buildings and lavatories are still provided water from the
main process water system but employees do not drink it anymore, Army
records said. The Army said that using process water for flushing
toilets and washing hands in latrine lavatories has been "concurred
with" by the State Plumbing Inspector. 

At some point, the drinking water system at the Conservation Club was
also considered nonpotable and "Caution, Nonpotable Water, Do Not Drink"
signs were placed above the lavatories in the building, public records

In 1992, the WDNR reported that Badger had still not provided the State
with a comprehensive plan for the separation of the potable drinking
water system and production system. The separation was necessary, WDNR
said, to "eliminate back-siphonage and cross-connection contamination". 
 This same year, the Army wrote that "no Badger employees in the future
will drink water from the old process water system". 


Laura Olah
Executive Director Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger 
E12629 Weigands Bay S 
Merrimac, WI 53561 
phone: (608)643-3124 fax: (608)643-0005 
email: info@cswab.org website: www.cswab.org 


Lenny Siegel
Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
c/o PSC, 278-A Hope St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/961-8918
Military mailing list
  Prev by Date: [CPEO-MEF] Editorial on the El Toro auction
Next by Date: [CPEO-MEF] Perchlorate "translation" draws criticism
  Prev by Thread: [CPEO-MEF] Editorial on the El Toro auction
Next by Thread: [CPEO-MEF] Perchlorate "translation" draws criticism

CPEO Lists
Author Index
Date Index
Thread Index