Officials: Benzene levels increasing in Village of Jackson’s water supply

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JACKSON (WITI) -- Approximately 6,000 people use the water in the Village of Jackson. This past week, however, a well supplying that water was taken offline as a health precaution.

According to the Department of Natural Resources, a small amount of the dangerous, cancer-causing agent, benzene, was found in this well. DNR officials say the amount of the chemical in the well is within federal and state safe drinking standards, but the situation is being monitored closely.

Village leaders met Tuesday, May 28th, to discuss the findings.

Two weeks of testing not only detected the presence of the chemical - but also revealed the levels increasing slightly. Director of Public Works Brian Kober expects the third week's test results soon.

"Hopefully they're going to speed up the test," Kober said. "So probably in the next couple of days."

On July 17, 2012, a pipeline leaked about 55,000 gallons into the ground below the nearby Town of Jackson. Despite speculation the leak may be the cause, Village Board President Wendy Kannenberg said this incident may not be the source of the well contamination. Not only are the two sites far apart, Kanneberg said, but chemicals found in the gas spill were not present in the well's test results.

However, Kober is not ruling anything out.

"We're looking into if its a pipeline or if it is another source," Kober said. "And (we'll) correct the situation."

Until more information is gathered, there are no plans to bring the well back into service.

As for the cause of the well's contamination - Kober said it could take up to a few months for it to be discovered.