Flush Only Advisory in parts of Jackson after gasoline contamination
the WTMJ News Team
Annie Scholz reportsPhoto: Video by tmj4.com
TOWN OF JACKSON- The water problem in the Town of Jackson is so dire, some people can only flush it at their homes.
12 private wells in the Town of Jackson have been contaminated with gasoline. The advisory affects more than 40 homes.
Steve Ales with the Wisconsin DNR says that the ruling has come beause benzene concentrations in the water are high enough that people shouldn't even touch the water.
The safe benzene level is about five parts per billion. One home registered at 11,000 parts per billion.
"That's why we developed the flush-only advisory...because of the concerns about contaminants in the water," said Ales on Newsradio 620 WTMJ's "Wisconsin's Morning News."
The problem is that people who live in these homes didn't know about the advisory until TODAY'S TMJ4 told them.
Folks in that flush-only zone are not happy about it, saying they should have been in the loop from the get go, especially when their health and their homes are at risk.
TODAY'S TMJ4 told Jane Greseth that her home is now in a flush-only zone. She was washing her dishes and doing laundry when we showed up, and shut it down immediately.
The alert went out Tuesday afternoon, but most hadn't heard anything about it from anyone official until the meeting Tuesday night, after TODAY'S TMJ4 gave them the information.
"I'm angry," said Greseth
The flush-only zone is a section of a larger area-wide Drinking Water Advisory.
Those folks are being advised to use their water only for flushing toilets. That means no skin contact, no laundry, no bathing, no watering.
Those residents are being put up in hotels for now, though there's no word on how long it will stay that way.
According to state Department of Natural Resources, private well owners in the area should use bottled water, or water from a known safe source, for drinking, cooking and food preparation.
The area encompasses 230 properties and extends from Jackson Drive on the west to Center Road on the east, from Sherman Road on the north to Spring Valley Road on the south, said Stephen Ales, private water section chief for the DNR in Madison.
According to the Washington County Sheriff's office, Residents within the Flush Only Area who may leave their homes for extended periods of time can contact the sheriff's office and request deputies to make regular checks of their property.
They can contact the sheriff's office on the non-emergency line (262) 335-4378.
No long-term solution has been determined yet, but the plan may include digging new wells.
"A water source needs to be found that doens't have a gasoline component in it. The well location needs to be selected outside the area that is known to have gasoline contamination in it, or the well needs to be drilled deeper," said Ales.
He said the DNR will begin considering long term solutions later this week.