Open House Helps Residents With Tainted Wells - WBAY

Open House Helps Residents With Tainted Wells

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Water in the area along Hecker Road outside the City of Manitowoc is contaminated.

DNR officials say a gravel pit within a mile of those residences could be the source of contamination.

Karen Vogel- who lives in the Town of Newton is among three properties currently using bottled water and water tanks instead of groundwater out of wells.

"First, they said, no showering," she said. "But, then they approved us to take a shower, but with the window open. And, when you do laundry- to have ventilation down in the laundry room." "It's just a lot of questions that need to be answered...and it's a little scary," she added.

DNR officials came to the Newton Town Hall Saturday to offer answers for concerned residents. The DNR says it discovered "VOC's" or Volatile Organic Chemicals in the wells last month.

VOC's come from industrial waste like dry cleaning chemicals or paint thinner.

Officials are trying to pinpoint where the contaminants are coming from and they say one of the possible sources is the Newton Gravel Pit, which is owned by the City of Manitowoc.

The pit was a liquid industrial waste drop off site more than 40 years ago.

"We are calling the city's gravel pit the western source. But, really the reason we're here today is to try and find out from the local residents or anyone who may have information about other industrial dumping or burial that may have taken place in the area," Roxanne Chronet, DNR Hydrogeologist supervisor, said.

To help residents, the City of Manitowoc is providing bottled water to the residents impacted by the groundwater contamination for the time being. The city also plans to install new wells at those properties.

"We're trying to work to clean up the contamination out at the gravel pit site as well as ensure that all of these residents have safe drinking water," Kathleen McDaniel, Manitowoc assistant city attorney, said.

Still, residents remain concerned with the source of the pollution and the possible solution to the problem.

"If they dig us a new well, I have concerns if that's going to solve the problem. It's just, you know, very worried and upset," Vogel said.

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