Wisconsin Public Radio: USDA Researcher Speaks at ELPC Water Conference & Warns Wisconsin Well Owners About Contamination

USDA Researcher Warning Kewaunee County Well Owners About Contamination
April 3, 2017
By Chuck Quirmbach

A scientist who’s looked into widespread well contamination in Kewaunee County says he’s now urging owners of tainted wells to find another water source.

U.S. Department of Agriculture microbiologist Mark Borchardt recently published findings that indicate cow manure is the leading cause of groundwater pollution in Kewaunee County. But he found that human waste from sanitary systems is spoiling drinking water there, too.

Borchardt told attendees at Environmental Law and Policy Center conference in Madison last week that he’s been making phone calls to the owners of the contaminated wells.

“These folks, I’ve spent my evenings fairly stressed out calling them, saying, ‘you can’t drink your water.’ To find salmonella in a private well, in someone’s home, really shuts things down.” Borchardt said.

He said his staff are out doing more water testing in Kewaunee County. So far, 26 wells they’ve tested are contaminated with cattle manure, 18 with human waste and three with both.

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