Brief

Nitrate groundwater contamination widespread in De Pere

By: - October 28, 2022 5:30 am

“Well” by Mamboman1 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Groundwater pollution in several parts of Assembly District 2 have reached unsafe levels, according to data collected in Brown and Mantiwoc counties. Wells around Greenlake, Cooperstown, Maribel, and north of Kellnersville and Francis Creek have all tested for high levels of nitrate.

Nitrate is the state’s most common groundwater contaminant. Drinking water with high levels of nitrate have been linked to cancers, thyroid disorders, and blue baby syndrome. Direct medical costs linked to nitrate contamination range from $24 million to $80 million per year according to at least one analysis. Other reports have shown that Wisconsin doesn’t have enough land to safely dispose of  the amount of manure produced in its agricultural industry. Manure from livestock is a main source of nitrate contamination in groundwater across the state.

A limit of 10 parts per million has been set for nitrate in drinking water by public health officials. Residents may contact the Department of Natural Resources to get wells tested, or access to bottled water to replace their drinking water while the well contamination is addressed.

Renee Gasch, a Democratic candidate running for the Assembly District 2, released a statement about the news: “Every person in Wisconsin deserves clean water, and no family should have to drink contaminated water because they cannot afford to replace a well,” Gasch stated. Gov. Tony Evers has launched a series of  clean drinking water remediation and compensation programs. In late October, $10 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds opened up for well owners in Wisconsin.

“Clean water is vital to our state and to our district,” Gasch said in her statement. “Northeast Wisconsin’s 2nd Assembly District runs from the shores of the Fox River in De Pere to the beaches of Lake Michigan in Two Rivers. Residents who live around the sandy soils in the central part of the district and along the bedrock of the Niagara Escarpment are at a greater risk of having contaminated well water and should take caution.”

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Isiah Holmes
Isiah Holmes

Isiah Holmes is a journalist and videographer, and a lifelong resident of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Holmes' video work dates back to his high school days at Wauwatosa East High, when he made a documentary about the local police department. Since then, his writing has been featured in Urban Milwaukee, Isthmus, Milwaukee Stories, Milwaukee Neighborhood News Services, Pontiac Tribune, the Progressive Magazine, Al Jazeera, and other outlets. He was also featured in the 2018 documentary The Chase Key, and was the recipient of the Sierra Club Great Waters Group 2021 Environmental Hero of the Year award. The Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council also awarded Holmes its 2021-2022 Media Openness Award for using the open records laws for investigative journalism. Holmes was also a finalist in the 2021 Milwaukee Press Club Excellence in Journalism Awards alongside the rest of the Wisconsin Examiner's staff. The Silver, or second place, award for Best Online Coverage of News was awarded to Holmes and his colleague Henry Redman for an investigative series into how police responded to the civil unrest and protests in Kenosha during 2020. Holmes was also awarded the Press Club's Silver (second-place) award for Public Service Journalism for articles focusing on police surveillance in Wisconsin.

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