WHITEHALL, Wis. (WEAU) -- People who live in the Whitehall area say they're finding orange-colored sludge in their water after an incident at an area sand mine Monday, but the company says the water is safe.
Just before 8 a.m. Monday, a man driving a bulldozer became submerged in the retention pond at the company's Whitehall facility.
Emergency responders were able to get him out safely by releasing the water level in the pond, according to Hi-Crush.
The DNR says that this caused process water and sediment to flow into a tributary and then into the Trempealeau river.
Now neighbors are raising concern about the contents of the water. One telling WEAU 13 News she's found orange sludge in her water filters.
Hi-Crush confirmed that their tests show the water is safe for wildlife, humans and the environment. The company says it is working with the Wisconsin DNR, local officials and neighbors to address the cleanup effort.
"I'm concerned," says Lindsay Kurth of Kurth Valley Fiber Mill, which property reaches Poker Coulee Rd., where the water is significant. "I love the outdoors. I have water systems in every barn that we have, and a water system in my house. My kids drink from a filtered water system and every filter we change has the orange sludge in it."
Scott Preston, COO of Hi-Crush says the company has already started cleanup efforts.
"We've already started effort's working with neighbors in the community to start the cleanup effort with them and that process is underway and ongoing," he explains. "We will continue to do everything that we can, working with the state's Department of Natural Resources and community and our neighbors to make sure that we continue to be great stakeholders of this area.
DNR officials say they will continue to monitor the water quality of the tributary and the Trempealeau River.