On the heels of news that high levels of molybdenum were found in private wells in the Oak Creek area, the city's health department is offering free molybdenum water test kits.
The kits are available through Feb. 28 to Oak Creek residents who use a private well as their primary source of drinking water. The health department is open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at City Hall, 8640 S. Howell Ave.
The state Department of Natural Resources has advised private well owners in southeastern Wisconsin to have their water tested for molybdenum. This does not apply to residents on Oak Creek's municipal water supply.
Molybdenum is a naturally occurring element in the earth's crust and in water in low levels, but it's also a byproduct of coal combustion and industrial waste. High levels of molybdenum may carry some risk to humans including digestive problems and gout, according to a DNR report.
High levels of molybdenum were found in homes in Caledonia and Oak Creek near We Energies' Oak Creek power plant several years ago. But recent tests found high levels of the element in 44 out of 153 private wells tested in Franklin, Muskego, Norway and Raymond.