On Wednesday, December 19, our host Jan Miyasaki spoke with Laura Olah, Executive Director of Citizens for Safe Water around Badger (CSWAB). The group is a member agency of Community Shares of Wisconsin. Laura has been named the Water Conservationist of the Year by the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation.
The organization mission is “to support, unify and strengthen citizens concerned for the safety of water resources in and around the Badger Army Ammunition Plant; to effect expedient cleanup of any contamination caused by negligent handling of toxic waste; and to exercise means as necessary to guarantee water resources are totally free of toxic contamination for us and the generations to follow.” (Citizens for Safe Water around Badger)
Laura provides an update on the organization’s activities in 2012. Earlier this year, the group worked for the better regulation and environmental monitoring for the explosive carcinogenic compound DNT, dinitrotoluene, “It has the lowest groundwater standards of all the chemicals that are regulated by the state of Wisconsin.” The army has so far not been required to test the soil for this compound. With the combined efforts from CSWAB and other regions of the EPA, the EPA will be publishing a Provisional Peer-Reviewed Toxicity Value – it provides a number that can be used in calculating clean-up goals and monitoring efforts.
At the state-wide level, the group has been working with the DNR, on revisions of soil cleanup standards. Laura mentions that a main priority for 2012 was ensuring that the cleanup standards would meet the levels for children and expectant mothers. “There are many routes of exposure – dermal exposure, through inhalation, incidental ingestion…”
Laura explains that without the involvement of local governments, communities, and organizations, “there are many private wells that would not be tested.”
There are roughly 300 restoration advisory boards across the nation that have stationed around formerly used military sites, which CSWAB works closely with.
Read more about Citizens for Safe Water around Badger and their efforts here.
Listen to the interview here: