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Private Drinking Water Quality in Rural Wisconsin
Between July 1, 2007 and December 31, 2010, nearly 4,000 rural drinking water supplies were analyzed for coliform bacteria, nitrate, fluoride and 15 metals as part of a state-funded program that provides assistance to low-income families. Nearly half of these wells had an exceedance of at least one health-based water quality standard. Test results for iron and coliform bacteria exceeded safe limits in 21% and 18% of these wells, respectively. In addition, 10% of the water samples from these wells were high in nitrate, and approximately 15% had an elevated result for aluminum, arsenic, lead or manganese. These findings emphasize the importance of water quality monitoring to the health of nearly a million Wisconsin families that obtain their water from a privately-owned well.