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What's in Your Well Water?

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Manganese is a metal found in soil, rocks and minerals, frequently with iron.

If you live in Northern Wisconsin, you might also find manganese in your water.

Last year, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources found elevated levels of manganese in public water supplies in counties across northern and western parts of the state.

That includes Oneida, Iron and Marathon counties.

Because of this, the Oneida County Health Department is encouraging Northwoods residents to get their well water tested.

“The Oneida County health department just wants to make private well owners aware that there is a potential for manganese exceedances in their well,” Todd Troskey, an environmental health specialist with the health department, said.

Manganese can cause discoloration in sinks, showers and toilets where water runs.

But it doesn’t just affect appliances. It can also affect your health.

When consumed in high quantities, manganese can be especially harmful to infants and people older than 50, who could start to experience symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease.

That’s why Troskey said it’s important to test well water.

And now is a good time to do that.

Not only is it National Groundwater awareness week, but Troskey said warmer weather is also an important factor.

“This is a good time when the snow is melting to think about sampling, especially for bacteria,” he said.

If you’re interested in sampling your well water, the Oneida County Public Health Department recommends the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene and the UW-SP Water and Environmental Analysis Lab. Other certified labs can be found on this list from the DNR.

Erin Gottsacker joined WXPR in December 2020. As a morning edition host and reporter, Erin reports on the issues that matter most in the Northwoods.
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