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MADISON - Lake Meadows Water Trust, which operates a public water system in the City of Muskego, has agreed to pay forfeitures and expedite compliance plans in order to settle state claims brought under Wisconsin's drinking water laws.
Wisconsin is required to administer a safe drinking water program no less stringent than federal safe drinking water standards. As part of that program, Wisconsin law sets forth contaminant levels and other requirements for public water systems. The maximum contaminant level for radionuclides (radium) was set in 1983, and pursuant to an agreement negotiated with USEPA, community water systems were required to comply with that level by December 2006.
According to the complaint, the Lake Meadows Water Trust water system has exceeded the contaminant level for radium since 1997, and has delayed taking the steps necessary to achieve compliance with the radium standard. Those steps comprise construction of a well for ultimate use as blending with water from an existing well, along with necessary piping and pumping. According to the settlement, Lake Meadows will complete construction of the blending project by early 2010. If samples from the project do not comply with the radium standard by September 30, 2011, Lake Meadows will connect to the City of Muskego drinking water system.
As part of the settlement, Lake Meadows will pay $5,000 in forfeitures, costs and fees.
Long-term exposure to elevated levels of radium in drinking water poses a higher risk of bone cancer for the people exposed. In announcing the settlement, Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen stressed the importance of all water systems, even as small as Lake Meadows, which serves approximately 200 households, ensuring that they provide drinking water that meets state health-based standards.
Assistant Attorney General JoAnne F. Kloppenburg prosecuted the case. Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Ralph Ramirez approved the settlement.