2009 CPEO Military List Archive

From: "Laura Olah" <cswab@merr.com>
Date: Fri, 10 Apr 2009 13:41:28 -0700 (PDT)
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] CSWAB UPDATE: U.S. Army Corps Study Targets Merrimac Groundwater
April 10, 2009
For Immediate Release
For more information contact:
Laura Olah, Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger (CSWAB) 608/643-3124
U.S. Army Corps Study Targets Merrimac Groundwater
A new technical review by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has found that
concentrations of the explosive DNT may be increasing in groundwater in the
rural town of Merrimac.  Residential areas that may be in the path of
contamination originating from Badger Army Ammunition Plant are the
Inspiration Drive Area and the Weigand?s Bay Area, the January 2009 report
says.  So far, the Army has not found unsafe levels of DNT in private wells
that it has tested.

?Residential areas near the Wisconsin River may potentially be affected by
DNT migration from the Deterrent Burning Ground in the future,? the report
says.  ?Results indicate concentrations of some DNT isomers have shown
slight increases in the last several years.  The Wisconsin Enforcement
Standard and Preventive Action Limit have been exceeded for 2,4-DNT and

Authors of the report, who included an environmental engineer, several
chemists, and a geologist, said that environmental safeguards should be
improved.  ?Groundwater monitoring is insufficient to delineate groundwater
vertical and horizontal contamination pathways in the aquifer,? they said. 
?Sentry wells should be installed in areas where the public may be impacted
by contaminants.?  

The Deterrent Burning Ground is a closed hazardous waste disposal site
located in the northeast corner of Badger.  It was used as a demolition
landfill and for open burning of deterrent, asphalt shingles, building
timbers, and office wastes.  Deterrent is an organic liquid containing
dibutyl phthalate and DNT that is used to modify the burning characteristics
of nitrocellulose-based propellants.  The EPA has classified DNT as a
probable human carcinogen.  

The Army Corps study was conducted in part to fulfill a Wisconsin Department
of Natural Resources (WDNR) requirement for a Five Year Review to determine
if the cleanup remedy is protective of human health and the environment.  In
2002, the WDNR approved the installation of an Enhanced Biodegradation
System (EBS) and a 7-acre landfill cap.  The cap system was installed to
prevent infiltration of rain and melting snow which could carry contaminants
to groundwater.  The EBS was designed to promote the degradation of residual
DNT left in subsurface soils.  

?Monitoring of the EBS needs to be improved to verify effectiveness and
protectiveness of the groundwater,? the report says.  ?There is no current
method to determine if operation of the EBS is potentially affecting
groundwater contamination and migration.?  If the current EBS is found not
to be effective, the report lists a number of alternative cleanup methods.

In response to growing concerns about groundwater quality at the northeast
corner of Badger, Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger (CSWAB) requested a
meeting with WDNR, EPA and local Army officials but the WDNR project manager
turned the group down, saying such a meeting was ?premature.?  The group
wants the WDNR, as the lead regulatory agency on cleanup, to set an
enforceable timeline for implementation of the report?s recommendations and
to expand required testing of nearby private wells while pending
investigations are underway.

?The report reinforces everything that the community has been saying for a
very long time,? said Laura Olah, Executive Director of CSWAB and resident
of the Weigand?s Bay neighborhood. ?I only hope that it?s not too late.?  

Laura Olah, Executive Director
Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger (CSWAB)
E12629 Weigand's Bay South
Merrimac, WI  53561
(608) 643-3124

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