Custom Rental System Deployed to Treat Benzene Contamination

La Valle Benzene Rental Trailer Interior

When the Village of La Valle, Wisconsin discovered benzene contamination in their water system, it was a big deal. Benzene is a primary contaminant according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for benzene is set by the EPA at 0.005 mg/L or 5 parts per billion (ppb). The benzene level in La Valle’s water system was significantly greater than that. Because of this, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) instituted a “Do Not Drink” order for their entire system.

The town’s engineering firm, MSA Professional Services, Inc. engaged WaterSurplus to rapidly deploy a temporary solution to treat the existing well for benzene. The system would be in place while the town located and developed a new well outside of the benzene plume. (A process expected to take 12 months or more.) To add to the challenge, the pump-house at the existing site was not large enough to accommodate any additional equipment, so any new equipment would need to be able to handle the harsh Wisconsin winter weather.

WaterSurplus’s engineering department quickly designed a climate-controlled, trailer-mounted, double-pass, granular activated carbon (GAC) filtration system to effectively treat the contaminated water. Further speeding the process, the engineers utilized customized versions of WaterPlus’ pre-engineered multimedia filtration system. This allowed the fabrication team more time to build the system. In the end, WaterSurplus was able to deliver the completed system to the job site a full week ahead of schedule.


After about two weeks of operation, samples showed no detectable benzene in the effluent from GAC Skid #1, GAC Skid #2, or the entry point to the water distribution system. More importantly, samples taken from various points in the village all came back below the MCL, and the DNR rescinded the “Do Not Drink” order. Results were released to the public through social media and the Baraboo News Republic.

More About Benzene

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) describes benzene as a chemical that is colorless or light-yellow in liquid form at room temperature. It has a sweet odor and is highly flammable. The Oregon Health Authority further explains that prolonged consumption of water with high levels of benzene can result in:

  • Central nervous system dysfunction
  • Extensive hemorrhaging
  • Pancytopenia
  • Increased risk of cancer

Learn More

To learn more about custom rental solutions to your water treatment needs, contact us today.

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