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Newton Gravel Pit
November 2015 Update

The five new potable wells drilled in fall of 2014 continue to be tested and have had no VOC impacts.  

In August of 2014, eight additional wells were identified with VOC impacts.  Due to their proximity to existing water main, in June of 2015, the City Common Council approved extending the existing water main to serve these affected properties.  In the October 2015 testing, three additional wells were determined to have VOC impacts.  One of these will be served by the water main extension, the other two are being addressed.  Construction of the water main is currently under way and the nine affected properties should be hooked up by December 31, 2015.   All impacted property owners continue to receive bottled water until a permanent drinking water solution is installed at the property.

Potable well testing in this area will continue.  The City and it’s consultant AECOM are working in collaboration with the DNR on several studies to determine the best course of action as we move into remediation of the site.

Newton Gravel Pit
location of the Gravel Pit relative to I-43
This map shows the location of the Gravel Pit, which is southwest of the City of Manitowoc.
The City of Manitowoc purchased the property known as the Newton Gravel Pit in the 1940s. The Newton Gravel Pit is located at 3130 Hecker Road in the Town of Newton. The property is located southwest of the City of Manitowoc on Hecker Road, between Viebahn Street and Silver Creek Road. The Gravel Pit property is currently used by the Department of Public Works and the Manitowoc Police Department.


outline of the City gravel pit on an aerial map
The red outline shows the location of the Gravel Pit.
In the 1960s and 1970s, historic dumping of chlorinated solvents at the Former Town of Newton Gravel Pit resulted in a release of contaminants to soil and groundwater in the environment.  The investigation to define the degree and extent of soil and groundwater contamination is ongoing.  From the investigation, it was determined that contaminants have been moving in groundwater in a southeasterly direction, following the direction of groundwater flow.  Over time, the contamination in groundwater has moved beyond the source area in the Gravel Pit.  In late 2013, in order to determine if groundwater that moved beyond the Gravel Pit was impacted and if private water supply at the surrounding properties was safe, water samples were collected and analyzed from private potable wells. 

The water samples were analyzed to find contaminants resulting from chlorinated solvents, which include the compounds cis-1,2-dichloroethylene and vinyl chloride.  Of the 14 initial potable wells sampled, located on Hecker Road and Silver Creek Road, three wells southeast of the Gravel Pit had vinyl chloride concentrations exceeding DNR drinking water standards.  These properties have been provided with temporary alternative clean water sources. The City is planning to provide a long-term drinking water solution for these properties and will continue with well-drilling efforts as the weather improves.

Private Potable Well Sampling Update

Since the initial potable well sampling, the DNR and City of Manitowoc have expanded potable well sampling.  Additional potable wells north, west and south of the Gravel Pit have been sampled to ensure that impacted groundwater is not moving in those directions.  Potable wells in the direction of groundwater flow to the southeast, east, and northeast of the Gravel Pit have been sampled to aid in defining the extent of groundwater contamination. 

As of November 2015, approximately 80 potable wells have been sampled.  Eighteen wells, including the original three from 2013, had vinyl chloride detected in an amount exceeding DNR drinking water standards.  There are also several wells with low level detection of cis-1,2-dichloroethylene in an amount far below DNR drinking water standards.  Sample results from the other potable wells showed no detection of chlorinated solvent compounds.  All property owners have been notified of their potable well results.  The properties with detection above DNR drinking water standards have been provided with temporary alternative clean water supplies until a permanent solution can be implemented.  Potable well sampling will continue throughout 2016 and into the foreseeable future.

For more information regarding potable well water click on the links below:


If you have any additional questions or concerns regarding this contamination, please feel free to call the following individuals:

  • City of Manitowoc
    • Kathleen McDaniel  (920) 686-6990(920) 686-6990
  • DNR Remediation & Redevelopment Program
    • Tauren Beggs (920) 662-5178(920) 662-5178    
  • DNR Drinking Water & Groundwater Program
    • Liz Heinen (920) 993-7056(920) 993-7056
  • Wisconsin Department of Health Services
    • Liz Evans (608) 266-3393(608) 266-3393
  • Manitowoc County Health Department                
    • Amy Wergin (920) 683-4155(920) 683-4155

If you have any information to provide about historic disposal activities or dumping of solvents in this area, please contact the confidential DNR Tipline at 1-800-TIP-WDNR1-800-TIP-WDNR FREE (1-800-847-93671-800-847-9367 FREE) or cell #367.

Public Meetings and Updates
The City of Manitowoc, Manitowoc County, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services will be hosting an open house for area residents at the Newton Town Hall on December 5, 2015. Homeowners in the impacted area were mailed an invitation.

This site was last updated on December 3, 2015.

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Background Photo Credits: Michael Thomas/PhotoTechnics