St. Croix SWCDA
Towns of Hudson and Warren
Many drinking water wells in the towns of Warren and Hudson, situated in St. Croix County, are contaminated with Trichloroethylene (TCE), a volatile organic compound (VOC). A Special Well Casing Depth Area (St. Croix SWCDA - Towns of Hudson and Warren) was established in July 1991 to protect residents from exposure to the contaminated water. New drinking water wells constructed in the area must be drilled below the contaminated aquifer and include certain well construction methods that prevent the contamination from entering the well. The DNR reviews variance requests to well construction requirements within the SWCDA on a case-by-case basis.
The DNR is evaluating water quality data and working to define the extent and magnitude of the contamination. The DNR is also reviewing previously issued variances and is exploring potential future funding options. The DNR will engage with interested stakeholders, including local legislators, elected officials, well drillers, property owners and developers as it navigates the path forward.
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SUBMIT a question, comment or concern about the SWCDA or private well contamination in the towns of Hudson and Warren.
- Public Meetings
Information about upcoming meetings will be posted here when available.
- St. Croix SWCA Background
Source of Contamination
Comingled plumes of contamination from three sites caused drinking water wells in the towns of Warren and Hudson (St. Croix County) to become contaminated with trichloroethylene (TCE). The sites are:
- Junkers Landfill (02-56-000088) - The Junkers Landfill TCE plume is situated in the central portion of the SWCDA. Parties responsible for the cleanup (the RP group) entered into a consent decree with the State of Wisconsin. The consent decree established funding for 25 years which will cease by the end of 2022. The DNR has been overseeing investigation and mitigation activities at this site since 1984.
- NorLake (02-56-000089) - NorLake is the responsible party for the TCE plume that exists on the western end of the SWCDA. The DNR has been overseeing the site investigation and cleanup at this facility since 1984.
- Town of Warren TCE (02-56-373815) - The town of Warren TCE plume is situated on the eastern end of the SWCDA; the responsible party is unknown. The DNR has been overseeing investigation and cleanup of this area since 1999.
The groundwater plume encompasses approximately six square miles (4,000 acres). Approximately 600 private drinking water wells are located within this area; 121 of the private drinking water wells currently or historically have contained TCE above the current groundwater enforcement standard established in ch. NR 140, Wis. Adm. Code. The DNR is evaluating water quality data and working to define the extent and magnitude of the contamination.
Trichloroethylene (TCE)The contaminant of concern in the SWCDA is trichloroethylene (TCE). TCE is a solvent often used in industrial processes and may also be discharged to the environment from unintentional releases or improper disposal of industrial wastes at landfills. TCE can migrate through soil and groundwater. People who drink water from wells near TCE discharge sites may be exposed. Additional information regarding the health risks associated with TCE are available on the Wisconsin Department of Health Services website.
Cleanup Funding Affecting Costs In Junkers Landfill Portion of SWCDA
Funding for the Junkers Landfill portion of the SWCDA, established under consent decrees in the 1990s, will cease by the end of 2022. This will result in two financial impacts to stakeholders:
- Well construction costs will increase significantly. The DNR previously issued variances for well construction under s. NR 812.43, Wis. Adm. Code, knowing that the Junkers Landfill RP group would pay for installation and maintenance of Point of Entry Treatment (POET) systems for wells within the Junkers Landfill area of the plume. Due to the ending of funding for the POET systems by the end of 2022, the DNR will no longer be able to issue variances that rely on this funding for new well construction. The DNR will continue to evaluate variance applications for new wells on a case-by-case basis. Water quality data informs the DNR if a proposed well may provide drinking water with contaminants below state drinking water standards, though a variance does not guarantee acceptable water quality.
- Well owners wanting to maintain existing POET systems will be financially responsible for ongoing maintenance and water sampling requirements. Costs to sample well water and maintain POET systems within the Junkers Landfill area of the plume were previously covered by the Junkers Landfill RP group.
- Information for Well Drillers
SWCA Well Requirements
New drinking water wells constructed in the area must be drilled below the contaminated aquifer and include certain well construction methods that prevent the contamination from entering the well. Read additional information on well construction requirements for the SWCDA.
The DNR will continue to evaluate variance applications for new wells on a case-by-case basis. Water quality data informs the DNR if a proposed well may provide drinking water with contaminants below state drinking water standards, though a variance does not guarantee acceptable water quality. To request a variance for a new well, submit a detailed and complete Application for Variance (Form 3300-210) to Private Water Supply Specialist Stacy Steinke at StacyJ.Steinke@wisconsin.gov.
- Health Information and Resources
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) is supporting the DNR by assessing human health risks associated with the TCE contamination in the St. Croix SWCDA - Towns of Hudson and Warren, including recommendations to reduce those risks.
For health-related questions, please email DHS at DHSEnvHealth@dhs.wisconsin.gov.
Learn more about health effects of various TCE on the following websites.