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DNR to host public meeting on groundwater contamination

April 9, 2013

Franklin - The state Department of Natural Resources will host its third informational meeting for the public on molybdenum groundwater contamination in southeastern Wisconsin from 6 to 8 p.m. April 11 in the community room at Franklin City Hall, 9229 W. Loomis Road.

The meeting will be in an open house format. Tables will be set up so residents can talk to local and state officials about health issues, testing their wells and how to treat well water for elevated levels of molybdenum.

Molybdenum is a naturally occurring metal found in the earth's crust, and in some cases groundwater. It is an essential nutrient in the human diet, found in leafy vegetables, grains and meat, and included as a dietary supplement in multivitamins. But excessive levels are not healthy and can lead to digestive problems and gout. The metal also is found in man-made industrial sources such as coal ash.

The DNR, local officials and well owners first learned molybdenum was present at elevated levels in a handful of private wells in the Caledonia area in August 2009. An extensive DNR study completed in January helped identify areas of Milwaukee, Waukesha and Racine counties that have elevated levels of molybdenum, but was unable to pinpoint the origin.

"We will provide as many chances as we can for the public to get information, express their concerns on the issue and offer input. We're there to listen," DNR Southeast Regional Director Eric Nitschke said in a news release.

The Department of Safety and Professional Services has been working closely with water treatment firms on testing to provide an approved, in-home device to remove molybdenum.

The agency recommends that, along with routine well testing for bacteria and nitrate, residents using private wells should sample and test their well water for molybdenum.

A new DNR web page on molybdenum is now available that helps explain how residents can get health information on molybdenum and how to access well testing and treatment options.

Go to the DNR's web site dnr.wi.gov and type in the key word "molybdenum." Visitors to the molybdenum web page are encouraged to sign up for the agency's "GovDelivery" list to receive email updates on meetings and other information.

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