drinking water

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The DNR announced new water quality initiatives as part of Governor Evers' Year of Clean Drinking Water declaration.

The DNR asked the Department of Health Service to review 40 contaminants for possible groundwater quality standards. This work comes on the heels of the department asking DHS last spring to review an initial 27 contaminants, including very difficult to pronounce chemicals known as PFAS. PFAS have been used for decades in numerous products, such as non-stick cookware, fast food wrappers, stain resistant sprays and firefighting foam.

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Governor Evers declared 2019 as the year of drinking water in Wisconsin, as part of highlighting the importance of clean water.

But this week focuses on groundwater as it's National Groundwater Awareness Week, looking at the 3.9 million people and businesses in Wisconsin dependent on groundwater.

Bruce Rheineck is DNR Groundwater Section Chief.

He says with two out of every three people in Wisconsin needing groundwater it's important to make sure your groundwater source has safe water. He encourages private well owners to check...

Groups Say Water Quality Task Force Necessary, Overdue

Jan 14, 2019
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Wisconsin News Connection is here.  

MADISON, Wis. - A new water quality task force has been proposed for Wisconsin after a recent study showed widespread health concerns about drinking water wells in several counties.

DNR: Search for Source of Groundwater Contamination Near Lake Michigan Continues

Jun 22, 2018

MARINETTE, Wis. - Wisconsin DNR officials say testing is still ongoing near Lake Michigan after Tyco Fire Products found new evidence of groundwater pollution at its manufacturing plant in Marinette.

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Every three years, all states are required under the federal Clean Water Act to review their water quality standards.

Topics evaluated in the review include policies, rules and guidance related to designated uses, water quality criteria, anti-degradation and variance. The DNR is taking public input as part of this review.

DNR Water Quality Specialist Marcia Willhite says they are asking for public input on surface water quality....

Rep. Shankland Introduces Clean Water Legislation

Nov 22, 2017
Wisconsin Legislative Documents

MADISON, WI (WSAU) -- State Representative Katrina Shankland (D-Stevens Point) recently introduced what she's calling "Clean Water Legislation".

The bill would provide $100,000 annually for the DNR to administer private well testing in a grant program working with local governments.

Rep. Shankland says she's talked to many people affected by unclean drinking water in the state.

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A trade group says Wisconsin is among four states that has the highest levels of nitrate, which can cause health problems in pregnant women and the young.

The Water Quality Association is an Illinois-based trade association representing the residential, commercial, industrial, and small community water treatment industry in the United States.

Their spokesperson Wes Bleed says another association, The Environmental Working Group, has a report listing the places with the highest levels...


The state is out with its annual report on our groundwater and two pollutants continue to be present: e coliform bacteria and nitrates.

The Groundwater Coordinating Council Report finds nearly three-fourths of state residents rely on groundwater as their primary source of drinking water.

DNR Groundwater Section Chief Bruce Rheineck says well contamination can come from a variety of sources...


With the situation in Flint, Michigan as a backdrop, a first-of-its kind program to replace lead service lines on qualifying private properties is being expanded to 38 communities that requested assistance through the DNR.

Wisconsin DNR

Northwoods property owners with private water wells should be on the alert for water contamination this time of year.

DNR private water section chief, Liesa Lehmann says well owners should take notice if the color or smell of the drinking water changes....

"....when temperatures warm we have snow melt or rivers rising and water running off on frozen ground. Any of those can create conditions that can send some of that surface water into the aquifer and into someone's private well..."

Legislature Favoring Private Municipal Water Owners

Feb 1, 2016

A state Senate panel has endorsed a bill that could make it easier for private investors to own public water utilities in Wisconsin.

The G-O-P measure was endorsed on a three-to-two party line vote, and it now goes to the full Senate after the Assembly earlier approved a similar bill. Right now, private out-of-state firms can buy public water supplies, but affected voters must approve the deals in referendums.

The bill from Assembly Republican Tyler August of Lake Geneva would make referendums optional.