Evers, DNR announce $402 million in spending to improve drinking water

By: - October 23, 2023 3:34 pm
Clean drinking water lead-free PFAS free

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Gov. Tony Evers and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources announced Monday that more than 100 municipalities across the state will receive $402 million in funding to improve local drinking water by removing lead service lines and addressing contaminants such as PFAS and nitrates. 

The funds come from the DNR’s Safe Drinking Water Loan Program and a number of programs through the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. 

“Since Day One, my administration has been working to ensure that every Wisconsinite, no matter their ZIP code, has access to clean, healthy, and safe drinking water and can trust the water coming from their tap,” Evers said in a statement. “This funding continues our commitment and will help accelerate our progress on lead service line replacement and addressing PFAS and other contaminants in drinking water systems in communities across the state.”

Across the state, there are 167,000 known lead service lines — which are the city-owned pipes that connect a home’s plumbing to the water system. In his budget proposal earlier this year, Evers had requested $200 million to replace the lines. 

Through the funding, the city of Milwaukee, which has many of the state’s remaining lead pipes, will receive more than $30 million to replace lead service lines.

The city of Wausau is set to receive more than $17 million in funds to help pay for a PFAS-removal treatment system at the city’s newly constructed water treatment facility. The city will also receive nearly $6 million to replace lead service lines. 

Many communities around the state are dealing with the harmful effects of PFAS in drinking water. The man-made compounds known as “forever chemicals”  have been found to cause cancer and don’t break down easily in the environment. The compounds enter the environment through products such as firefighting foams and household goods such as nonstick pans. 

In rural parts of the state, communities are dealing with increased nitrates in their drinking water, which is often caused by runoff from agricultural operations. As part of the funding announced Monday, the village of Reedsville is set to receive $3 million for additional water treatment to address excess nitrates in its 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.