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.
 
As the state calls for ideas that use manure digesters to help improve drinking-water quality in Wisconsin, it's helpful to better understand how the actual functions of digesters align with the problem at hand.
The state of Wisconsin is betting on manure digesters in rural northeastern Wisconsin to curb water pollution and other environmental problems linked to the spreading of manure on dairy farms.
Free water filters will be available to thousands of people in Milwaukee who live in homes with lead water service lines.
An analysis released this week by the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families found 4.6 percent of children in the state who were tested last year had lead poisoning, compared to Flint, Michigan's 4.9 percent.
The state of Wisconsin is getting ready to parcel out $14.5 million to help communities replace thousands of lead service lines. However, short of digging up every single pipe in a community or surveying every property owner, there's no way to know for sure where all the lead is located.
Given the growing prominence of concerns about drinking water around Wisconsin, understanding what motivates well owners to test for contaminants can help inform educational campaigns about safe practices.
No one can say for sure how many lead pipes drinking water runs through on a daily basis around the United States, or where specifically those pipes are located.
As the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources noted in its 2015 annual report about municipal water utilities, coliform bacteria are found in systems across the state. In fact, water samples testing positive for these bacteria outnumbered those showing higher-than-permitted levels of other contaminants.
On July 29, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources released its 2015 report on the state's public drinking water utilities, detailing information about costs, contaminants and infrastructure status.
Heavy rainstorms in northwestern Wisconsin on Monday, July 11, led to flooding throughout the region. The flooding also poses a less visible, but still significant threat: It can result in more contaminants in the area's drinking water supplies.