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Source of Molybdenum Still Unknown

The state Department of Natural Resources continues to collect data on high levels of molybdenum found in many private wells across southeastern Wisconsin.

The state Department of Natural Resources says it doesn't know why high levels of molybdenum have been found in many wells in southeastern Wisconsin.

The DNR completed an extensive study that yielded "inconclusive" results on the source of the molybdenum, Southeast Regional Director Eric Nitschke said. Questions on where the molybdenum is coming from were asked often during a public meeting Thursday night in Caledonia.

"We understand there are some folks that would rather those results be conclusive," Nitschke said in an interview. "We aren't able to give that."

Molybdenum is a naturally occurring element in the earth's crust and, in small amounts, is an essential part of people's diets.

However, it's also a byproduct of coal combustion and industrial waste. Drinking water with high levels of molybdenum carries risk, including digestive problems and gout, according to a DNR report.

The DNR recently tested for molybdenum in 153 private wells in Franklin, Muskego, Norway and Raymond and found high levels of the element in 44 of them.

Since then, the department has planned a series of open house-style meetings, the first of which was held Thursday at Trinity Lutheran Church, to educate the public and answer questions. The DNR also continues to collect data and work with other agencies, including the Department of Health Services and the Department of Safety and Professional Services.

More than 11,000 private wells fall within the area in which the DNR advises tests. The area includes the towns of Caledonia, Raymond and Norway in Racine County; Muskego in Waukesha County; and private well owners in Franklin and Oak Creek.

"That's a large group of folks," Nitschke said. "We continue to get samples in from people and ascertain that data and try to get answers out to those folks that test above the standard."

Residents whose wells show high levels of molybdenum can look into treatment options or alternative sources of water. The meeting Thursday offered stations on treatment devices; information is also available on the DNR's website. Molybdenum testing kits are available at the health department.

me February 22, 2013 at 06:54 AM
they are good at counting your fish or watching you hunt but when it comes to real things that matter the DNR has their head in there a$$. They have allowed John Menard to pollutant the Northwoods of the state for years
Tansandy February 22, 2013 at 01:32 PM
And would you include the City of Milwaukee that constantly dumps sewage into lake Michigan? And all the while Mayor Barrett turns his head and says what sewage? He says that story is a bunch of crap.
patchworkgrl February 22, 2013 at 05:36 PM
How about someone doing some investigative reporting on this story? Molybdeum is found in your vitamins. Yep. Go look right now. A typical multivitamin has around 40 micrograms of Molybdenum in it. And that's only 60% of the daily recommended amount. How did DNR and Dept of Health come up with this 40 microgram/liter number? Check out other state limits -- Colorado recently changed their requirements from around 45 micrograms to over 200 micrograms. Good job state agencies. Getting everyone worked up over nothing. And then trying to blame it all on local industry.
T.R. February 22, 2013 at 09:56 PM
I don't no what type of study the DNR did. I don't think anyone else does either. I don't think testing only 155 wells could give you enough info to make any determination. I would think the DNR's next move would be to do more testing an see if a pattern appears.
patchreader 123 February 23, 2013 at 12:53 AM
It is difficult to believe that molybdenum contamination of drinking water proximal to the Oak Creek facility is not attributed to WE Energies' questionable disposal of coal ash. Water contaminated with both boron and molybdenum may be attributed to coal ash as the source. Residential drinking wells located proximal to the Oak Creek facility are contaminated with both molybdenum and boron, whereas residential drinking wells located miles from the Oak Creek facility are contaminated with molybdenum only. So, because the data does not seem to support WE Energies coal ash as the source of contamination of wells located miles from the Oak Creek facility, DNR and WE Energies would have us believe that the a similar conclusion is to be drawn for wells located proximal to the facility? Really? Especially where WE Energies supplies bottled drinking water to these residents and is buying up some of their homes? Give me a break. http://dnr.wi.gov/files/PDF/pubs/WA/WA1625.pdf http://www.todaystmj4.com/features/iteam/150093905.html http://www.todaystmj4.com/features/iteam/164541826.html
patchreader 123 February 23, 2013 at 01:08 AM
Read pages 56-58 of the above report and note line item (6) on p. 57 and line item (2) on page 58. Also note the final paragragh on p. 13 attributing the bluff collapse to WE Energies dumping coal ash into a "former ravine located along the lake Michigan shoreline on the south side of the property". Are we to believe that 2+2=5 with regard to residential wells located proximal to the WE Energies Oak Creek facility? Perhaps a more focused study is called for in relation to a smaller geographical radius from the plant?
T.R. February 23, 2013 at 02:03 PM
That's a good point. I am trying to stay neutral, although I realize when the DNR tested throughout the county the study would be incuclusive. I also agree they should do more isolated testing, 1/4 mile, 1/2 mile, etc. radius. The government as far as I no can't figure things out either. They have spent millions on the cause of dropping water levels on the great lakes. There findings are also incuclusive. Wisconsin government is trying to move in a different direction removing less regulation an encouraging buisness. As our Govenor said "Were open for buisness"
Caledonia Retiree February 23, 2013 at 11:13 PM
Radon gas, Molybdenum, salmonella, the flu. I think the government should just instruct the public to stop breathing, drinking and eating and then we'd all live forever.
patchworkgrl February 24, 2013 at 10:41 PM
So if all the molybdenum is due to the WE Energies facility, how come it's also being found in the Town of Norway - on the west side/opposite end of the county? DNR and Dept of Health screwed this one up from the beginning.

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