Simulation of Groundwater Flow at the Former Badger Army Ammunition Plant, Sauk County, Wisconsin

Scientific Investigations Report 2023-5040
Prepared in cooperation with U.S. Army Environmental Command
By: , and 



To help support remedial efforts at the former Badger Army Ammunition Plant the U.S. Geological Survey built and calibrated a transient groundwater flow model using the Newton Raphson formulation (MODFLOW–NWT) of the U.S. Geological Survey’s modular three-dimensional finite-difference code. The model simulates the groundwater flow system at the site from 1984 to 2020. The former Badger Army Ammunition Plant is a 7,275-acre site in Sauk County, Wisconsin. The plant produced smokeless gunpower and solid rocket propellent as munitions components. Peak production periods were during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. Subsequent groundwater contamination investigations have found four plumes at the site. A health risk assessment identified at least one contaminant of concern for human health risk present in three of the plumes: the propellant burning ground plume, the deterrent burning ground plume, and the central plume. A cooperative study began between the U.S. Army Environmental Command and U.S. Geological Survey to better understand the groundwater flow system at the former Badger Army Ammunition Plant. Field data, including aquifer tests, streamflow measurements, continuous groundwater elevations, and groundwater gradients with the Wisconsin River were collected and used to inform and calibrate the groundwater flow model. The model was used to assess the variability of the groundwater system over the study period, the components of the groundwater budget, and groundwater flow directions from identified source areas towards the Wisconsin River. Model performance assessment focused on using particle tracking to compare groundwater flowpaths that originate in the contaminant source areas to the observed plume footprints. This focus on plume behavior geometry should help constrain the advective component of a future groundwater transport model of the site.

Suggested Citation

Haserodt, M.J., Reeves, H.W., Nielsen, M.G., Schachter, L.A., Corson-Dosch, N.T., and Feinstein, D.T., 2023, Simulation of groundwater flow at the former Badger Army Ammunition Plant, Sauk County, Wisconsin: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2023–5040, 140 p.,

ISSN: 2328-0328 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Hydrogeologic Setting and Conceptual Model of the Flow System
  • Field Data Collection Methods, Analysis, and Results
  • Groundwater Flow Model Construction
  • Groundwater Flow Model Calibration
  • Calibration Results
  • Groundwater Flow Model Results and Discussion
  • Assumptions and Limitations
  • Summary
  • References Cited
  • Appendix 1. Groundwater Elevation Data Processing
  • Appendix 2. Soil-Water-Balance Model Setup Details
  • Appendix 3. Development of Bedrock Surface and Hydrostratigraphic Zones
  • Appendix 4. Target Sets and Calibration Results
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Simulation of groundwater flow at the former Badger Army Ammunition Plant, Sauk County, Wisconsin
Series title Scientific Investigations Report
Series number 2023-5040
DOI 10.3133/sir20235040
Year Published 2023
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Upper Midwest Water Science Center
Description Report: viii, 140 p.; 3 Data Releases; Dataset
Country United States
State Wisconsin
County Sauk County
Other Geospatial former Badger Army Ammunition Plant
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details