Hundreds of thousands of Wisconsin residents, including nearly 17,000 rural residents with private wells, lack safe, clean drinking water, says a study by the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, Ron Seely reports for the organization. The study found residents were "at risk of consuming drinking water tainted with substances including lead, nitrate, disease-causing bacteria and viruses, naturally occurring heavy metals and other contaminants."
Last month 16 Wisconsin residents petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency "to revoke Wisconsin's authority to issue pollution discharge permits under the Clean Water Act if the Department of Natural Resources does not correct deficiencies," Seely writes. "The discharge permits are a key mechanism by which Wisconsin limits pollutants, including manure from large farms, that reach the sources of Wisconsin's drinking water."
"Kimberlee Wright, executive director of Midwest Environmental Advocates, the Madison law firm representing the residents, said Wisconsin lacks an adequate regulatory program to protect water, including what flows from residents' taps," Seely writes. DNR spokesman Jim Dick told Seely that the DNR "takes its responsibility to protect Wisconsin's waters seriously and does enforce the Clean Water Act. We are working within the confines of current state and federal laws and rules to do just that." (Read more)