Flooding May Mean Private Wells Should Be Tested

Jul 30, 2020
WAOW Television

Officials are issuing a warning after flooding over the weekend in parts of the area.

After heavy rainfall, experts say that private wells can flood allowing bacteria and other harmful contaminants to get into your water.

Liesa Lehmann, a section chief with the Department of Natural Resources, said you should test your water before drinking it.

Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest

The water flow on a little creek in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest is modest.

In fact, the stream is small enough that it has no name. Officially, it’s Unnamed Tributary to Morgan Creek.

But on July 11, 2016, it was just one of the unassuming streams that heavy rainfall turned into rushing rivers in this area of the National Forest.

“Roads were gone. Bridges were gone. Culverts were gone,” said Jim Mineau, a hydrologist for the National Forest.

Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest


Heavy rains earlier this week near Laona damaged several National Forest roads and Waupee Dam, which is located about five miles from Mountain.

Minor flooding is occurring below the dam.

The area remains closed to visitors, including the Waupee Dam boat landing.

Repairs to Waupee Dam had begun last month.

Hanscom Air Force Base

The remnants of tropical storm Cristobal and another weather system will affect the Northwoods and central Wisconsin late Tuesday afternoon and into Wednesday, with widespread rainfall amounts of up 2 inches, and possibly higher amounts.

Lakes and rivers continue to be at high levels from ample moisture over the past year or so.

We asked Peter Hansen, vice-president of operations at Wisconsin Valley Improvement Company if this sudden burst of moisture could affect the area by the Wisconsin River dams...

Pixabay.com jeanluctelesfort

The early 2000's were marked by near drought conditions in northern Wisconsin. But since 2010, it's been very wet, the wettest on record, and 2019 ended as no exception. Precipitation records were set in many reporting stations in Wisconsin, including Rhinelander.

National Weather Service Chief Meteorologist Phil Aurimski in Green Bay says we had abundant moisture here..

pixabay.com Perkons

The deep snow of the Northwoods could soon start to melt as a large, but rainy, airmass moves into the area. WJFW Chief Meteorologist Geoff Weller says the rain likely will causes some problems...

"...Now the problem with this is we could see an inch of rain between now and Friday morning. At the same time, the ground is frozen down four feet or so and the storm drains are covered because of all the localized snow we've had recently. The snow piles are very thick and covering the drains right now..."


An unusual October weather pattern has raised the possibility of some flooding in some parts of the listening area.

National Weather Service meteorologist in Green Bay Scott Berschback says some places in the Northwoods have picked up more than 5 inches of rain in the past week.

We spoke with Berschback Wednesday morning...

"...Rhinelander for the month is sitting at 3.75 inches of rain for the month to date so far. We actually set a record rainfall(Tuesday 10/9) of 1.27 inches..."

He says the rain will continue into Thursday....

Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest

Heavy rains last weekend not only washed out main roads, but the flooding hurt activities in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.

Motorized trails on the Park Falls and Great Divide units of the Forest have reopened. Recreation Program Manager for the Washburn Ranger District, Jennifer Maziasz says they've done extensive damage assessments on forest roads and trials.

She says their first priority was public safety... 

Wikimedia Commons

Spring runoff and recent rains have closed some Langlade county roadways.

Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy John Schunke asks motorists to stay away from five areas that are flooded....

"....this is pretty typical for this time of year. There's several areas that have low spots where the water does go over the roadway during thaws. This recent rain caused some early flooding issues. Nothing extreme, but enough to close down certain portions of the roads...."

Schunke says stay away from the flooded areas....

Wis. Dems: Bill Would Make Spring Flooding Worse

Mar 2, 2018

Wisconsin News Connection is here.

MADISON, Wis. - As February comes to a close, 12 Wisconsin counties are now or have recently been under flood warnings, an unusually high number for this time of year.

Wisconsin Democrats are opposed to a bill working its way through the state Legislature. They say AB 547 would make spring flooding even worse in the Badger State because it would make it easier for developers to pave over wetlands, which provide natural protection against flooding.

Wikimedia Commons Averette

Wisconsin's insurance commissioner says the recent high water in the state is a cold reminder that insurance policies don't always cover water damage.

Commissioner of Insurance Ted Nickel says the federal government stepped in to offer flood insurance in flood prone areas to cover some or all damage should floods occur.

Most policies, however, currently don't offer coverage for flooding...

Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest

Only a few roads in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest remain to be repaired as hunters return in mass for the Gun Deer Season.

Forest spokesperson Hilary Markin says more than 300 miles of road and trail since the July 11 storm event...

"....we've got most of our roads open, we're down to just 9 portions of roads that are closed and a couple of those are bridges that were washed out. We've worked really hard since July to restore all those services to get people back out in the forest..."

Wisconsin DNR

In light of the recent flooding in northern Wisconsin, well water safety has become a cause for concern. Floodwaters and runoff can affect private wells and people with flooding should assume their well is contaminated. DNR private water field supervisor, Marty Nessman says people in the affected areas should have their wells checked before using the water again.



Bayfield County has published an interactive flood road closures map which is available on their website

The map allows people to click on certain areas and view the status of the road.

To view the status of a particular road click on the area. A small box should pop up that displays a photo and/or the road's status.

Keep checking the WXPR website for more updates on the flooding damage and road closures.

Severe storms produced problems in the region yesterday.