M.K DeSantis, Pegasus Technical Services for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Series: Drinking Water Quality

Drinking water quality varies across in Wisconsin. In communities with public utilities, drinking water is subject to disparate levels of treatment depending on local needs and budget concerns. Nearly one million households get their water from private wells, which depend on property owners for monitoring and treatment. Across the state, many natural processes and human activities can introduce pathogens and chemical contaminants into water supplies. Wherever their drinking water comes from, Wisconsinites can use various resources to better understand and improve its quality.
 
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Researchers with UW-Madison and others analyzed groundwater data collected by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources from 2000 to 2018. They found radium levels were trending upward in wells drawing from a regional aquifer underlying the southern two-thirds of the state.
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The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is directing a Marinette manufacturer of firefighting foam to expand its investigation of drinking water that might be contaminated by so-called forever chemicals known as PFAS.
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PFAS "forever chemicals" have become a fixture of public attention and policymakers are taking steps to address their use. UW-Madison civil and environmental engineering professor Christy Remucal discusses what is known about PFAS and the risks associated with them.
A group of chemicals known as PFAS are prompting increasing attention and concern across Wisconsin. What are these chemicals and why are they such a big deal?
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Lafayette County officials proposed a resolution threatening to prosecute journalists if they did not quote county news releases verbatim. Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council President Bill Lueders discusses freedom of the press and the Lafayette County Board's activities.
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Per- and polyfluoroalkyl chemicals, better known as PFAS, can contaminate groundwater and pose health risks to people. Multiple Wisconsin municipalities are considering how to deal with PFAS, and Wisconsin DNR Sec.-Designee Preston Cole discusses the state's response to the issue.
The city of Madison's water quality manager, Joe Grande, voluntarily tested for PFAS chemicals in public water wells that aren't regulated. Grande discusses what is known and remains unknown about these pollutants.
Sometimes pollution is dramatic, like aerial footage of a 2011 coal ash pond collapse that sent toxic contents onto the beach and into Lake Michigan in Oak Creek, just south of Milwaukee.
The quality of drinking water resources is increasingly an area of focus among Wisconsin's political leaders. Their efforts, in turn, are generating significant interest around the state.
A study of drinking water quality in the southwestern region of the state is finding contamination beyond safe limits in two-fifths of private wells. Wisconsin Geological & Natural History Survey director Ken Bradbury discusses what its research is uncovering.