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.
 
Any serious look at Wisconsin's geology and groundwater will at some point likely encounter the term "karst." The concept is hardly specific to Wisconsin, but it's helpful for understanding the land and drinking water across much of the state.
Kewaunee County, home to about 20,000 people on the lower half of the Door Peninsula, is hardly the only place in Wisconsin that's seen a rapid growth of concentrated animal feeding operations, but it has become central to a debate over how to regulate manure irrigation.
Waukesha scored a victory with the historic June 21, 2016 agreement to let the Milwaukee suburb draw 8.2 million gallons per day of drinking water from Lake Michigan. But following a years-long negotiation, both the state of Wisconsin and city of Waukesha had to make some concessions.
Shared via
WPT
Environmental groups are sounding the alarm over enforcement of wastewater violations in the state in the wake of an audit of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Amber Meyer Smith, director of programs and governement relations at Clean Wisconsin, shares her take on the situation.
Shared via
WPT
A critical audit found that over the past 10 years, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has failed 94% of the time to take enforcement action on private industry and municipal agencies when water pollution limits were exceeded. DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp responds to the audit's findings.
Shared via
WPT
The Wisconsin Legislative Audit Bureau found the state Department of Natural Resources has sent notices to only a small percentage of wastewater facilities and CAFOs that could be committing violations. Wisconsin Natural Resources Board Chairperson Terry Hilgenburg discusses these findings.
A new Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources program might have difficulty targeting the Wisconsin communities experiencing the greatest lead contamination in terms of scale and intensity.
Worker replacing lead pipes in Madison
A new program to help Wisconsin communities replace lead drinking water pipes will likely take out only a small fraction of those estimated to exist around the state.
Iron bacteria
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 answers to several specific questions.
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.