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November 8, 2011

MADISON -- A report detailing what Wisconsin's 11,000-plus public water suppliers, the state, and partners do to help assure safe, adequate drinking water into the future is now available online.

Wisconsin's Capacity Development Program for Public Drinking Water Systems 2011 Report to the Governor (pdf) describes the activities and partnerships aimed at helping public water systems achieve and maintain the technical, managerial, and financial capacity to provide safe drinking water.

Public water systems are those that regularly serve at least 25 people 60 days of the year. They range from small restaurants and gas stations up to the largest cities such as Madison and Milwaukee. Wisconsin has 11,444 public water systems, second only to Michigan.

All states are required to have capacity development programs. Wisconsin uses a combination of activities to accomplish this, including requiring water system operators be certified, technical assistance visits to small systems, regular inspections, water quality monitoring, and low interest loans, according to Lee Boushon, who leads the Department of Natural Resources program overseeing public water suppliers in Wisconsin.

The program also benefits from the work of partners around the state including county health departments, the Wisconsin Rural Water Association and the Wisconsin Water Association, he says.

The combined efforts are paying off at the tap. In 2010, the latest year for which figures are available, 96 percent of Wisconsin's public water systems did not have a single water sample exceeding health-based standards for regulated contaminants, according to the 2010 Annual Drinking Water Report for Public Water Systems (pdf). On average, Wisconsin residents pay $4 for 1,000 gallons of tap water--mere fractions of a penny per gallon, according to the state Public Service Commission.

Activities taken to build and strengthen the system's capacity include:

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Lee Boushon (608) 266-0857

Last Revised: Tuesday, November 08, 2011

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