EPA investigating boron contamination at 4 Michigan water wells

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is investigating possible causes of the high boron levels found in 4 water wells along Lake Michigan.


Feb. 4, 2004 -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is investigating possible causes of the high boron levels found in 4 water wells along Lake Michigan.

Three residential wells and one well in the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, out of the 12 tested last month, were found to have concentrations above 900 parts per billion. As a result, the EPA is taking emergency action and bottled water is being provided to the affected residents.

Possible sources of the contamination might include naturally occurring boron or the nearby Yard 520, a landfill owned by Brown Inc., according to the online news site www.nwitimes.com, an affiliate of the NorthWest Indiana Times newspaper. Fly-ash coal combustion waste at the landfill could possibly be leaching boron into nearby ditches, which empty into Lake Michigan.

Results from a second round of water tests will be ready in a few weeks; after that, officials will decide what action should be taken.

In the short-term, drinking water with large amounts of the metal boron can damage the liver, kidneys, stomach and brain.

The Beverly Shores, Mich., area is set to get a $5.4 million municipal drinking water plant soon.


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