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Are Muskego Wells Contaminated?

DNR officials have asked Muskego and other cities to have residents have their private wells tested for molybdenum, a metal found in coal ash.

Muskego has been named in a DNR report, released on Thusday, which revealed the extent of well contamination in parts of southeastern Wisconsin involving an estimated 11,000 private wells.

The report revealed the DNR has detected elevated levels of the element  molybdenum in 44 of 153 private wells over the past two years. The DNR says an exact source of the trouble has been hard to pinpoint, but the metal is present in waste such as coal ash and foundry sand, is used by the steel industry and is an ingredient in paint.

The DNR is advising owners of private wells to have their water tested. It's also planning to test more wells in the area and agreed to test schools, day care centers and community water systems, such as in subdivisions and apartments with their own water supplies.

The department, along with the state Department of Health Services (DHS) and local health officials, recommend that residents using private wells in the towns of Caledonia, Raymond, and Norway in Racine County, in Muskego in Waukesha County, and residents using private wells instead of municipal water in Franklin and Oak Creek in Milwaukee County should sample and test their well water for molybdenum, along with their recommended annual testing for bacteria and nitrates. Testing cost ranges from $13 to $45.

The agency said people could keep drinking their water — except for those whose wells have been tested and exceed state groundwater standards for molybdenum.

Should your water test high for molybdenum, it should be noted that no treatment device is currently approved specifically for molybdenum removal. However, distillation and reverse osmosis devices could effectively remove molybdenum. Testing of devices for removing molybdenum is underway and approval by the Department of Safety and Professional Services for use is expected by March 30, 2013. The total device cost ranges from $400 to $1,000 depending on model and labor.

More information:

Further questions on the DNR study: Eric Nitschke, 414-263-8570

Nearest lab certified for testing for molybdenum: SF Analytical Laboratories, 2345 South 170th Street, New Berlin; (262) 754-5300; Contact: Joe Pickar, jpickar@sflabs.com 

Molybdenum fact sheet

Scandihovian Lady January 26, 2013 at 01:44 PM
I called Public Works and was directed to the DNR website. If you go to the DNR website DNR.WI.GOV and search molybdenum, a map will appear showing the areas in Muskego where contamination is currently found. It appears to be primarily in the south and southeastern part of Muskego. However, I don't live in those areas, but will err on the side of caution and still have our water tested.

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