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Making financial decisions about health insurance can be difficult for people who are unable to understand what's included in their coverage plans.
Kevin Masarik
U.S. farmers embraced nitrogen-based fertilizer at a dramatic pace during the 1960s and '70s. Since then, its use has played a key role in boosting agricultural productivity. But as a consequence, nitrogen's more soluble form, nitrate, has become a common drinking water contaminant, in Wisconsin and around the country.
As the groundwater education specialist for the Center for Watershed Science and Education at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Kevin Masarik gets a lot of questions from Wisconsin residents about their well water and how to go about testing its safety. Here are a few basic questions I regularly encounter.
E coli
About 2 million children die each year from waterborne disease, primarily acquired by drinking water contaminated by pathogens, including bacteria, protozoa and viruses.
Private well
Recent news about water quality in Wisconsin and elsewhere naturally may have people wondering about the quality of what's coming out of their faucets at home.
Despite all the heavy rain in the first half of December, with flood warnings across parts of the state, Wisconsinites should be thankful they did not experience a downpour on the order of 5 inches in just 24 hours. Such extreme rainfall can cause damaging flooding, severe soil erosion and crop loss.
Sharon Long
Waterborne pathogens can cycle between the environment and their human and animal hosts, causing illness in people and spreading disease between households. To determine how fecal matter contaminates groundwater, scientists use indicators that specify the source, identifying it as human or animal waste.
Kenneth Bradbury
Leaky sewer pipes might be the source of viruses found in drinking water that Wisconsin municipalities draw from bedrock aquifers 800 feet below ground..
The Weather Guys
The "polar vortex" that memorably descended over Wisconsin starting in January 2014 wasn't really all that bad, at least when considered in the context of 66 years of weather data for the Northern Hemisphere's lower troposphere (that is, one mile above the ground).
David Liebl
Wisconsin's climate is gradually warming and is forecast to get warmer by the mid-21st century. Climatologists track this regional reflection of a planetary trend in large part through a series of satellites that gather data about Earth's lands, seas and air, and subsequently, use this information to help model long-term climate projections.