Lead from corroded pipes, such as this one taken from a building in Flint, Michigan, caused blood lead levels in children in this impoverished city to spike, creating a public health crisis. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp said the Flint crisis convinced her the state must do more to reduce the danger of lead in drinking water. Siddhartha Roy / FlintWaterStudy.org
Reading Time: < 1 minute

This Series

Failure at the Faucet is a series exploring risks to drinking water across Wisconsin. Read more.

Related Stories

Wisconsin DNR fails to update lead testing guidance in wake of Flint crisis

Wisconsin must do more to protect residents from lead in drinking water, DNR and Milwaukee leaders agree

Having trouble with the quality of your water? Send us an email at tips@wisconsinwatch.org

Lead in drinking water: By the numbers

  • 176,000 estimated number of lead service lines in Wisconsin
  • $511 million-$756 million estimated cost to replace all 70,000 lead service lines in Milwaukee
  • $14.5 million total amount of grants issued by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in 2016 to 38 communities to replace lead service lines
  • 200,000 number of Wisconsin children tested diagnosed with lead poisoning between 1996 and 2014; most cases are attributed to lead paint
  • 3,922 number of Wisconsin children tested diagnosed with lead poisoning in 2014
  • 4.5 percentage of Wisconsin children tested diagnosed as lead poisoned in 2014
  • 8.6 percentage of Milwaukee children tested diagnosed as lead poisoned in 2014
  • 4.9 percentage of children tested in Flint, Michigan diagnosed as lead poisoned in 2015

Sources: 2014 Report on Childhood Lead Poisoning in Wisconsin; Miguel Del Toral, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Milwaukee Water Works; Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; “Elevated Blood Lead Levels in Children Associated With the Flint Drinking Water Crisis,” 2015.

The nonprofit Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism (www.WisconsinWatch.org) collaborates with Wisconsin Public Radio, Wisconsin Public Television, other news media and the UW-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication. All works created, published, posted or disseminated by the Center do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of UW-Madison or any of its affiliates.

Creative Commons License

Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.

Popular stories from Wisconsin Watch

The byline "Wisconsin Watch" represents members of the Wisconsin Watch editorial and business staff.