Over the years, the utility has purchased 26 properties in Caledonia that are near the Oak Creek power plant, 4801 E. Elm Rd in Oak Creek, according to Racine County records.
We Energies spokesperson Cathy Schulze said that as people approached the utility, it has purchased the property to provide a buffer zone around the plant. The utility has razed four properties and plans to raze six more.
“Right now we don’t have any plans for the property,” Schulze said. “We’re establishing a buffer zone because of the increased truck traffic in the area.”
A number of properties in the immediate area around have reportedly had elevated levels of molybdenum, according to a story published in 2010 in the Journal Times.
Officials with We Energies have been buying property along County Line Road near the Oak Creek Power Plant for several years. In 2012, Brian Manthey, said the decision to buy the properties didn’t have anything to do with the molybdenum levels. Since then, state officials with the Department of Natural Resources have revised the advisory level for molybdenum, according to the Journal Sentinel.
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. While humans already have trace amounts of molybdenum in their bodies, drinking water with high levels of molybdenum may carry some risk to humans including digestive problems and gout.
Editor’s note: this version of the story has been corrected to reflect the correct acreage in the real estate sale and to include the comments from We Energies.