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What private well owners need to know

Nearly 1 million households in Wisconsin drink water from private wells. To make sure your well water is safe, make sure your well has been properly located, constructed, installed and maintained, including annual testing.

Read more

Drinking water and groundwater Current issues

Safe, clean drinking water is what we expect when we turn on our faucets. The Wisconsin Bureau of Drinking Water and Groundwater manages activities that affect the safety, quality and availability of drinking water to protect public health and our water resources.

Boy drinking water in fountain

Drinking water and lead

Lead in drinking water can come from community water pipes as well as home plumbing. Learn about how to minimize your exposure and decide if you want to test for lead in your home.

Report: 96 percent of public water systems met health standards for drinking water

The vast majority of Wisconsin’s public water systems served drinking water that had no violations of health–based standards in 2014, according to a report released July 1, 2015.

» Read the full report [PDF]

Viruses found in untreated Wisconsin drinking water

A recent Wisconsin study shows that viruses can be found in drinking water in communities that use groundwater and do not disinfect it before supplying it to consumers.

Virus contamination from operation and maintenance events in small drinking water distribution systems [exit DNR], Journal of Water and Health, December 2011.

The vast majority of Wisconsin’s municipal water systems currently disinfect the water they deliver to consumers, killing viruses and bacteria that can unexpectedly occur in groundwater.

Learn if your municipal water system disinfects its water

The vast majority of Wisconsin's municipal water systems currently disinfect the water they deliver to consumers, killing viruses and bacteria that can unexpectedly occur in groundwater.

Not all do. Here’s how you can learn if your municipal water supplier disinfects:

  1. Check the Municipal water disinfection list [PDF], based on DNR records as of April 20, 2016, to see if the system disinfects its water.
  2. Contact your water system directly.
  3. Go to the DNR Drinking Water System page, type in your water system’s name, click on "find," then on the link generated for your system and scroll down to "treatment processes." If there is no notation of disinfection under the "objective" heading, the system does not disinfect.

DNR recommends that all municipal water systems supplied by groundwater wells continuously disinfect the water they supply to consumers. A recent Wisconsin study shows that viruses can be found in drinking water in communities that use groundwater and do not disinfect it before supplying it to consumers.

City of Waukesha Diversion Application

The DNR has determined that the City of Waukesha’s application for a diversion of Great Lakes water is complete. The completeness determination begins the review of the application by the DNR. The DNR will schedule informational meetings/public hearing for late July to introduce the proposal, the decision process, decision criteria, environmental impact statement process and take public comments.

Waukesha Diversion Application

Assure the safety of your drinking water after a flood

Private well owners should suspect their drinking water is contaminated by floodwaters if the well casing becomes inundated; if there’s a change in taste, color or sediment in your water; or if your well does not have a deep casing and you are near areas that have been flooded. Wells located in pits and basements are especially susceptible to contamination. If you suspect your well has been contaminated by flooding, read more...

Chromium–6 in Wisconsin drinking water

Learn more about chromium, a chemical element that has been found in some Wisconsin drinking water and is the topic of federal review and discussion over whether a maximum level needs to be set to protect public health.

Fluoride in Wisconsin drinking water

Learn more about fluoride in Wisconsin drinking water. The state does not require public water supplies to add fluoride to its drinking water to protect dental health, but the state Department of Health recommends communities do so and sets the recommended levels. The DNR is responsible for approving the installation of equipment public water suppliers use to add fluoride, and assuring the systems’ monitor their fluoride levels and review those results, among other technical issues.

Safe Drinking Water Hotline

hotline–sdwa@epamail.epa.gov
1–800–426–4791

Last revised: Wednesday April 20 2016