September 6, 2010 - Dozens of private wells near the Oak Creek coal-fired power plant have elevated levels of a metal called molybdenum, and We Energies is providing some homeowners in the area with bottled water for drinking and cooking.
An investigation by the state Department of Natural Resources has not determined the source of the metal, which is considered a health risk when consumed at high levels.
The We Energies plant in Oak Creek is a potential source of molybdenum, but environmental regulators are also investigating a longtime landfill in Caledonia, west of the tainted wells, that is now a Superfund site.
The Milwaukee utility said its environmental consultant has concluded that its power plant is not the source of the contamination, but environmental groups dispute that. The DNR has not pinpointed a source.
Caught in the mess are homeowners, some of whom have lived in the area for decades. Unable to drink their water, and concerned about the impact of the problem on their property values, they wait for an answer.