Army backs out of Badger Army Ammunition Plant agreement

Army backs out of Badger Army Ammunition Plant agreement

The U.S. Army is backing out of its agreement to build a public drinking water system in Sauk County over contamination concerns.

In 2010, the Army said chemicals used at the defunct Badger Army Ammunition Plant may have seeped into groundwater used by residents in Merrimac and other surrounding areas.

But last month Army officials sent a letter to U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, saying that after reviewing the proposed plan it had been determined that Army representatives had “acted prematurely and beyond their area of authority.”

The project was estimated to cost $20 million. The Army has spent more than $80 million testing the water since 2010.

Local officials are unclear about what happens next.

“They haven’t communicated that with us. All we have is a letter to the DNR about doing something else,” said Tim McCumber, Merrimac town administrator. “I talked with someone at the DNR that allegedly they would be talking to. They had a conference, but even they can’t tell me what the proposal is because it wasn’t actually presented.”

Six homes in the area have had to replace wells after a dangerous compound was found.

The change in plans affects about 420 people.