A 2007 survey of private drinking water wells found 1 out of 3 had pesticides or their breakdown chemicals; farm groups oppose push for tougher atrazine rules.
Project: Water Watch Wisconsin
Mercury taints the fish. Nitrates, pesticides and endocrine disruptors are seeping into private well water. Trout streams are running dry. In this series, the Center is examining the many threats to Wisconsin’s water supply and water quality.
Nitrate in drinking water systems is increasing and “current management activities to limit nitrate pollution have questionable effectiveness.”
— the Wisconsin Groundwater Coordinating Council
According to state estimates, nitrate is at unsafe levels in an estimated 94,000 Wisconsin households.
Major projects in Water Watch Wisconsin
In Wisconsin, a state whose very name evokes lakes, rivers and abundant water, hundreds of thousands of people may consume drinking water tainted with at least one contaminant. Nearly half the private wells are unsafe, one study found.
Across central Wisconsin, in a region known as the Central Sands, residents have watched water levels in lakes and small streams drop for years. In a state with about 15,000 lakes and more than a quadrillion gallons of groundwater, it is hard to believe that water could ever be in short supply. Experts say, however, that the burgeoning number of so-called high-capacity wells is drawing down some ground and surface water.
The Capital Times and Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism proudly present Murky Waters, a four-part series examining threats to the quality of the Madison area’s spectacular lakes, and ambitious new efforts that seek to improve them. Researchers around the world are watching our lakes in hopes of adapting these lessons to troubled bodies of water in other areas.