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Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

August 1999

Who's in charge of groundwater?


Return to the main article "Protecting the resource"

Agency or institution Responsibilities
Department of Health and Family Services
  • holds public meetings on contaminated water supplies
  • recommends enforcement standards for substances of health concern
  • investigates health effects from contamination
  • inspects water supplies at restaurants, hotels, motels and campgrounds
Department of Commerce
  • inspects and keeps records on underground storage tanks
  • enforces septic system regulations
  • approves home water treatment devices
  • runs the brownfield grant program
  • educates business and landowners about tank laws
University of Wisconsin
  • researches the occurrence, effects and prevention of groundwater pollution
  • educates students and working professionals about groundwater issues
  • maintains water resource references
Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey/University of Wisconsin
  • maps and inventories groundwater resources and geological formations
  • writes technical reports and assists regulatory agencies
  • monitors groundwater levels and water quality
  • educates about hydrology and groundwater resources
State Lab of Hygiene
  • analyzes private well water samples
  • researches virus and pathogen occurrence in groundwater
United States Geological Survey
  • researches surface and groundwater interactions
  • monitors groundwater levels
County government
  • issues permits and inspects septic systems
  • with DATCP, establishes standards for manure storage pits
Department of Natural Resources
  • regulates sewage lagoons, municipal and industrial wastewater systems
  • regulates landfills, solid waste and hazardous waste disposal
  • regulates environmental consequences of mining
  • responds to hazardous spills
  • regulates public drinking water systems
  • regulates well drilling
  • provides water quality planning
  • sets drinking water standards
  • monitors groundwater, samples well water
  • sets state groundwater quality standards
  • issues permits for animal waste management
  • administers the land recycling (brownfield) program
  • educates school children and adults about groundwater
Department of Transportation
  • conducts road salt and groundwater research
  • regulates road salt storage
Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection
  • regulates pesticide use and cleanup
  • inspects fertilizer and pesticide storage facilities
  • inspects water supplies of food processors and Grade A dairy farms
  • licenses water bottlers
  • educates food and agricultural interests about groundwater
  • researches where pesticides have entered groundwater
  • oversees farm nutrient management
University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension: UWEX county offices and the Central Wisconsin Groundwater Center at UW-Stevens Point
  • tests private wells
  • educates homeowners and local government about groundwater issues
  • provides community outreach
  • conducts applied research about groundwater
You
  • ensure proper use and disposal of household chemicals
  • maintain wells and septic systems
  • stay active in community land use issues
  • report illegal or abandoned waste sites to DNR
  • participate in community recycling programs

Return to the main article "Protecting the resource"