Military Bases Polluting Waterways In Washington State and Wisconsin

October 13th, 2010 - by admin

Laura Olah / Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger & Rosemere Neighborhood Association – 2010-10-13 00:36:51

Toxins Could Flow into Riverway if Army Stops Cleanup
Laura Olah / Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger

MERRIMAC, WI (September 30, 2010) — If area residents accept a proposed municipal water supply system, the military said that it will ask the WDNR for permission to shut down a huge groundwater extraction system that currently stops toxins from flowing into groundwater and the nearby Lower Wisconsin Riverway — a state natural area that extends from Prairie du Sac to the Mississippi River and is one of the most ecologically diverse rivers in the United States.

Badger Army Ammunition Plant officials told members of the local Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) late last night that cleaning up the aquifer will no longer be necessary if it is not being used as a source of drinking water. However advisory board members and the audience raised concerns about potential impacts to the river and the rare species that live there.

“Many of the contaminants found in groundwater at Badger, like the explosive DNT, are toxic to fish and other aquatic organisms,” said Laura Olah, Executive Director of Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger and a member of the RAB. “Recent groundwater test results show that concentrations of DNT inside the plant are 44,000 times higher than recommended health advisory levels for drinking water. If cleanup stops, this will all go into the river.”

A major source of the contamination is the Propellant Burning Grounds, a hazardous waste disposal site located in the southwestern portion of the plant. A groundwater plume containing carcinogenic solvents and DNT has moved south past the installation’s boundary and is discharging to the Wisconsin River just below the dam at Prairie du Sac.

Groundwater remediation started in 1990 with the construction of a pump and treat system. It was expanded in 1996 and continues to operate today.

“Once in the river, DNT breaks down into other chemicals such as 2-amino-4-nitrotoluene which are toxic to aquatic organisms and may cause long-term adverse effects in the aquatic environment,” Olah added. “Concentrations in groundwater at Badger are as high as 1,350 parts per billion and the safe level for drinking water is only 2.”

The Army has proposed building a public water system which would serve residents to the south and east of Badger in the rural towns of Prairie du Sac, Sumpter, and Merrimac. Army contractors said that a new well and 75,000-gallon water tower could be located near Weigand’s Bay in the town of Merrimac.

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

EPA Moves Forward With Site Inspection of Camp Bonneville for Consideration to List as Superfund Site
Rosemere Neighborhood Association

(March 6, 2010) — The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Region 10 Office has announced the results of its Preliminary Assessment of Camp Bonneville, the former US Military installation in Clark County, Washington.

In a letter dated March 1, 2010, EPA informed Camp Bonneville cleanup contractors and the Washington State Department of Ecology that based on the information gathered in the Preliminary Assessment Report, “additional investigation is warranted” of the Camp Bonneville Site under CERCLA [Superfund].

According to the EPA’s report,
“the objectives of a Preliminary Assessment are:

• To determine whether the site is releasing or has the potential to release hazardous constituents into the environment;

• Identify potential public health and/or environmental threats posed by the site;
• Assess the need for additional investigation and/or response action at the site; and

• Determine the potential for placement of the site on the National Priorities List (NPL).”

• The report states the Preliminary Assessment was conducted in response to a formal Preliminary Assessment Petition dated February 3, 2009, submitted by the Rosemere Neighborhood Association and Columbia Riverkeeper under Section 105(d) of CERCLA.

EPA is directing its own contractor, Ecology and Environment, Inc., of Seattle, Washington, to arrange the followup investigations, also known as Site Inspection:

From the EPA website:
“The Site Inspection program identifies potential cleanup sites that have a high probability of qualifying for the National Priorities List (Superfund), and provides the data needed for Hazard Ranking System scoring and documentation. Site Inspection investigators typically collect samples to determine what hazardous substances are present at a site, and whether they are being released into the environment.”

EPA Preliminary Assessment Report of Camp Bonneville finds “the sources that appear most likely to contribute current or future contamination at the site are the firing target area, the Central Impact Target Area, the OB/OD area and Landfill4.”

The firing target area is of concern because of “previous detections of heavy metals in the soil and because UXO [unexploded ordinance] has historically been present in these areas….there is still the possibility that people may wander outside of the cleared areas and encounter UXO.” There is “confirmed presence of lead and RDX contaminated soil” in the Central Impact Target Area and “it is possible that contamination may migrate from this source through ground water or surface water runoff to Lacamas Creek…. The OBD/OD area is of concern due to the presence of historic RDX and arsenic contaminated soil. Landfill 4 is of concern due to the continued presence of perchlorate in the ground water.”

Ground water sampling has found “a perchlorate ground water plume is present at the site in the area surrounding Landfill4/Demolition Area 1.”

The report recommends more “robust” modeling and testing of groundwater flow and transport to determine the impact on the Troutdale Sole Source Aquifer.

•You can view EPA’s Preliminary Assessment report by clicking on the following links (pdf format):
EPA Preliminary Assessment Report — Camp Bonneville
Tables & Maps for EPA Preliminary Assessment Report

•You can view Rosemere Neighborhood Association’s Preliminary Assessment Petition from February 3, 2009, by clicking on the following links (pdf format):
Rosemere Neighborhood Association, PO Box 61471, Vancouver, WA 98666