The clean-up efforts around the former Badger Ammunition Plant outside Baraboo are winding down, but concerns about water contamination from the facility still persist among residents of the area. The U.S. Army is hoping to address those concerns with a proposed municipal water district serving the region.
The Army does routine testing of private wells in the area surrounding the plant. While they haven’t found dangerous signs of contamination, plant spokeswoman Joan Kenney says some residents remain worried about the long term safety of water supplies.
The proposed municipal water district would serve those living around the former ammo plant, although Kenney says a defined district is yet to be determined. It would draw water from a 75,000 gallon water tower, which would be fed about a deep sandstone aquifer.
Most residents in the region currently rely on private wells for their drinking water. DNR testing in the area has found trace amounts of explosives and other contaminants in water supplies, but officials says it’s far below any levels that could harm the health of the public.
Kenney says the Army would cover the cost of building the infrastructure needed for a municipal water district, with residents then paying regular utility fees to maintain it. She says their projections have the cost being about the same as using a private well.
An overall price tag of the project is not yet known. Construction could take up to three years.
Officials with Badger Ammo unveiled their proposal Wednesday in Merrimac. Kenney says they’ll be looking for public feedback on the plan, which would need the approval of area towns before it can move forward.