Newton Gravel Pit

August 2021 Update

Potable well testing in this area is continuing during the COVID-19 pandemic with appropriate precautions. The City is testing for VOCs and emerging contaminants as directed by the Wisconsin DNR. The City and our 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. The City has applied for a Safe Drinking Water loan from the DNR to fund the installation of a water main to serve a number of the impacted properties.

All impacted property owners continue to receive bottled water until a permanent drinking water solution is installed at the property. 

The City is meeting with the Town Boards of the Town of Manitowoc and Town of Newton to discuss water main construction plans and answer questions. The handout provided at the meeting with the Town of Manitowoc is available here.

Newton Gravel Pit

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 from a private landowner. 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 Infrastructure and the Manitowoc Police Department. The Gravel Pit is not open to the public and the City prosecutes trespassers.
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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.  The City has expanded sampling to approximately 300 wells and plans to provide a long-term clean water source, either through a new deeper well or municipal water, at all properties with concentrations exceeding established DNR drinking water standards.

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 August 2021, over 300 potable wells have been sampled. Approximately 30 wells 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-dichloroethene 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 are provided with temporary alternative safe water supplies until a permanent solution can be implemented. Potable well sampling will continue throughout 2020 and into the foreseeable future.


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

  • DNR Remediation & Redevelopment Program, Tauren Beggs (920) 510-3472
  • DNR Drinking Water & Groundwater Program, Jim Kasdorf (920) 387-7872
  • Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Nathan Kloczko (608) 867-4448
  • Manitowoc County Health Department, (920) 683-4155
  • City of Manitowoc
    • Property Owner Inquiries: Karen Dorow (920) 686-6550
    • Media Inquiries: Dan Koski (920) 686-6550
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-WDNR 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 have hosted four open houses in the past on this issue. The City has been unable to host a traditional open house due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but hopes to have a virtual open house once Public Service Commission approval for the water main has been granted.

This site was last updated on August 9, 2021.