DNR announces grant program for cleaning up small public water systems

By: - December 18, 2023 4:01 pm

A PFAS advisory sign along Starkweather Creek. (Henry Redman | Wisconsin Examiner)

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced a grant program Monday that would fund the cleanup of small public water systems contaminated with pollutants such as PFAS and manganese. 

The grants, funded through the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will be targeted at other-than-municipal community water systems and non-transient non-community water systems. Other-than-municipal water systems aren’t owned by a government or municipality but serve 25 or more year-round residents, according to the DNR. These systems are common in mobile home parks, apartment buildings and condo associations. 

Non-transient, non-community systems are non-residential yet regularly serve the same people over six months of the year. These systems are common in places such as day care centers and schools. 

PFAS, also known as forever chemicals, are a group of man made compounds that don’t break down easily in the environment and have been linked to health defects including certain types of cancer. Manganese is a naturally occurring metal that can cause health problems if consumed in high concentrations. 

“This is an exciting opportunity to offer financial help to some of Wisconsin’s smallest public water systems,” Adam DeWeese, DNR Public Water Supply Section Manager, said in a statement. “PFAS and manganese contamination impacts communities across Wisconsin, but Other-Than-Municipal Community and Non-Transient Non-Community public water systems have historically been ineligible for funding opportunities. This new grant program offers a unique opportunity for the DNR to fund small or disadvantaged public water systems to reduce emerging contaminants in drinking water.”


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Henry Redman
Henry Redman

Henry Redman is a staff reporter for the Wisconsin Examiner who focuses on covering Wisconsin's towns and rural areas. He previously covered crime and courts at the Daily Jefferson County Union. A lifelong Midwesterner, he was born in Cleveland, Ohio and graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a degree in journalism in May 2019.