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Caution Still Advised on WI Drinking Water Despite Annual Reports

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reports the major challenge facing the state's drinking water supplies is aging infrastructure. (Pixabay)
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reports the major challenge facing the state's drinking water supplies is aging infrastructure. (Pixabay)
August 17, 2018

Milwaukee, WI - Annual reports show that 99 percent of the public drinking water systems in Wisconsin pass standards for contaminants regulated by the federal government. Still, officials say citizens should take extra steps to make sure their local public system is providing the safest water possible. Comment by Steve Elmore, program director for bureau of drinking water and groundwater, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

The vast majority of Wisconsin's public drinking water is being called safe by the Department of Natural Resources. Its annual report says more than 99 percent of the Badger State's water supply passed safe-drinking standards. But Steve Elmore with the D-N-R's Bureau of Drinking Water and Groundwater says citizens should go the extra mile and seek information at the local level.

"I encourage the public to seek out information about their individual water supply, and that can be found in consumer confidence reports."

Wisconsin leads the nation with more than 11-thousand public water systems. Most of those systems tap groundwater.

The consumer reports suggested by Elmore provide information on possible contaminants that officials have yet to decide whether to regulate federally. Elmore says that although they are rare, it's still crucial to know about them.

"Some contaminants have been found to cause health effects and may have what we call a health-advisory level set by the federal government, but there's not yet a regulation in the Safe Drinking Water Act."

Elmore says the agency currently is focused on encouraging communities to update old infrastructure and replace lead service lines. The Private Lead Service Line Replacement Funding Program and the Safe Drinking Water Loan Program together awarded more than 73-million dollars to fund 65 projects in 61 communities statewide. The Wisconsin D-N-R conducted more than 95-hundred inspections of public drinking water at various levels, including construction, operation and maintenance requirements throughout the year.

Although recent annual studies show that Wisconsin public drinking water is safe across nearly the entire state, officials say citizens still should check up on the water in their local areas. Trimmel Gomes (Trim-MELL GOAMZ) has more.

I'm Trimmel Gomes

Reach Steve Elmore at (608)-264-9246

Trimmel Gomes, Public News Service - WI