The US Army’s Explosive Wells

August 10th, 2008 - by admin

Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger – 2008-08-10 09:14:37

Army To Test Merrimac Residential Wells for Explosives

(July 30, 2008) — Representatives of the Army, EPA, and WDNR have announced that six additional groundwater monitoring wells will be installed in and around the northeast corner of the Badger Army Ammunition Plant. The plan is in response to the detection of the explosive DNT (dinitrotoluene) in two deeper monitoring wells that were recently installed at the plant boundary, officials said.

Contaminant levels are more than four times health advisory levels set by the Wisconsin Division of Public Health for drinking water. DNT is classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a probable human carcinogen (causing cancer).

A group (nest) of three wells is planned for outside the plant boundary near homes at Weigand’s Bay, a deeper “bedrock” monitoring well will be installed at the plant boundary near an existing well group, and a group of 2 wells will be installed inside the plant. The wells are being placed southeast of the Deterrent Burning Ground, a hazardous waste disposal site that is the suspected source of the contamination.

The WDNR is also monitoring trends in 1,1,2-trichloroethane and tetrachloroethylene (also known as perchloroethylene) in groundwater. Current levels are well within the safe standard of 5 parts per billion for both contaminants. The suspected source of the industrial solvents is a landfill which is located adjacent to the Deterrent Burning Grounds.

The Army has also announced it will be testing private drinking water wells in the Weigand’s Bay area for DNT in August. These homes are located in the rural township of Merrimac. Previous testing by the Army has not detected DNT. Low levels of another solvent, trichloroethylene (TCE), were detected in several private wells in the Weigand’s Bay area but the source of this contaminant is currently not known.

CSWAB is pressing for additional offsite monitoring well nests to provide much-needed information about offsite groundwater flow patterns. This information will help identify residential wells that are at greatest risk. CSWAB is also asking for an evaluation of the cleanup remedy at the burning grounds and adjacent landfill in order to determine if better source-control remedies can be implemented.

CSWAB will be presenting this information at the regular meeting of the Merrimac town board set for August 5, 2008 at 7:00pm. For more information, contact CSWAB at (608)643-3124 or visit their website at

Laura Olah, Executive Director
Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger
E12629 Weigand’s Bay South
Merrimac, WI 53561