Jackson residents discuss long-term water solution following pipeline leak

JACKSON -- Residents in Jackson got an update Monday night, October 1st regarding the water supply -- following a gasoline pipeline leak in July. A public meeting was held at the Jackson Village Community Center to discuss long-term cleanup plans, after one DNR official said some water in Jackson may be unusable for a decade!

The July 17th gasoline pipeline burst sent 22,000 gallons of fuel into the soil.

West Shore Pipe Line Company repaired the gas line, and then tested private wells -- where officials found water samples containing levels of benzene higher than federal standards. 

The Department of Natural Resources then issued a "Flush-Only Advisory" for some residents in the spill area.  The company put those residents up in hotel rooms and issued bottled water.

Then, the company found groundwater runoff from unsafe drinking water areas flowing away from the leak area, outside the designated restriction areas as established by the DNR. The company then installed and tested an "interim groundwater remediation system."

A mobile groundwater cleanup plant was set up in a backyard adjacent to the spill site. Three blue barrels represent the three-part system -- one that cleanses and breaks apart the mixture of water and gasoline into liquid and gas states. It is then filtered and dispensed into a drainage ditch -- a tributary of Cedar Creek.

Over the weekend, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources announced they were shrinking the bottled water advisory area -- allowing over residents in over 100 homes to start drinking their well water again.

"In general, they're handling it pretty good, but it's still very, very devastating. There's about 80 to 90 properties that are affected now that they shrunk the water advisory zone," Town of Jackson Chairman Ray Heidtke said.

On Friday, September 28th, the DNR shrunk the advisory area to the following roads:

• Mill Road between Maple and Division Road/County Highway G

• Western Avenue between Maple and Division Road/County Highway G

• Division Road between Western Avenue and Mill Road

• Maple Road between Western and Sherman Roads

• Sherman Road from Maple Road to one-half mile East of Maple Road.

The news was welcome for Jackson residents Carl and Jan Holter.  

"We just heard about that and we were just delighted that something like that has come through," Jan Holter said.

Carl and Jan Holter are cancer survivors, and the thought that dangerous chemicals could put them at risk had them using bottled water since July. 

"We didn't care for the idea of having more carcinogens in the water," Carl Holter said.

During a DNR meeting held September 20th, one DNR officials said well water in Jackson may be unusable for at least a decade -- if not longer.

Five options were discussed in terms of a long-term drinking water solution for Jackson, including: using the nearby Village of Jackson system, establishing a public Town of Jackson sanitary district, replacing the existing private wells with deeper ones, creating a privately owned water supply system, or a combination of these approaches.

State officials aren't recommending any one solution over another, but would like a decision as quickly as possible.

Jackson resident Ross Bishop had his property up for sale, and an offer, but after the pipeline leak, that offer fell through.

"We just met with them last Friday, and they do not want to buy the house because they have two young children, and they don't feel safe. I don't blame them," Bishop said.

West Shore Pipe Line Company is paying for the cleanup. At least one Jackson farmer was reimbursed for lost crops, and Jackson officials hope the company will foot the bill for the long-term water supply solution as well.

"I'd like to see it stay country. It'd be nice to keep it as private wells, but we know it's not going to be the case," Bishop said.


West Shore Pipe Line Company has created a claims hotline for residents affected by the pipeline leak in Jackson. Affected residents can call the claims hotline at 866-837-5016. Operators are available from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. daily.


Anyone who filed will be contacted by an adjuster, who will go through each claim.


The claims hotline will help residents with: