In a formal letter to WDNR Secretary Adam Payne today, Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger (CSWAB) asks that the Department require the U.S. Army, as the acknowledged responsible party, to incorporate PFAS and other emerging contaminants in its pending community-wide groundwater remedy selection at and near the former Badger Army Ammunition Plant lands in rural Sauk County. Badger is the source of three separate groundwater contaminant plumes that have all migrated beyond the plant boundary into nearby residential areas.
CSWAB points to the Department’s August 17, 2020 letter which requires the U.S. Army to include evaluation of PFAS and other emerging contaminants “as early in the cleanup process as possible, preferably during the site investigation phase.” A follow-up letter to the Army on September 9, 2020 affirms the Department’s opinion that there is “considerable uncertainty regarding potential discharges of PFAS” at Badger.
Now, three years later, in August 2023, the Army submitted a draft remedial action plan to the WDNR for addressing community-wide groundwater contamination but the plan omits PFAS altogether. As a result, the Army’s proposal fails to define the degree and extent of PFAS and other emerging contaminants in groundwater – the community’s sole source of drinking water.
CSWAB asks that the WDNR take immediate steps to assure that (1) drinking water wells near Badger are regularly and promptly tested for PFAS and other emerging contaminants, and (2) that the pending site-wide groundwater remedy selection and environmental investigations fully encompass all potential sources for PFAS contamination including hazardous waste sites in the Town of Merrimac.
This is not the first time that residents have asked for off-site testing. In September 2018, more than 100 people, including members of the local Restoration Advisory Board, co-signed a resolution organized by CSWAB asking that the Army test all public and private drinking water systems within a four-mile radius of Badger for PFAS. The resolution asked that the Army include PFAS analysis in its then-upcoming testing of approximately 300 residential wells near the former military base. The requested testing never occurred.
A complete copy of CSWAB’s 7-page letter is posted here.
Laura Olah | Executive Director
Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger | www.CSWAB.org
E12629 Weigand’s Bay South, Merrimac, WI 53561
P: 608 643 3124 | E: firstname.lastname@example.org