A new report from the American Society of Civil Engineers says Wisconsin will have $7 billion in drinking water and wastewater infrastructure needs in the next 20 years.
The state is already facing water problems, such as the pollution of nearly one-third of private wells in Kewaunee County and the possible contamination of nearly 2,000 La Crosse County wells, Wisconsin Public Radio reported.
Bill Davis, the head of the Wisconsin Sierra Club-John Muir Chapter, said things like allowing more concentrated animal feeding operations and high-capacity well regulations jeopardize groundwater quality.
The issue of traces of pharmaceutical drugs found in drinking water and tens of thousands of lead pipes still carrying drinking water to Wisconsin homes are areas Davis said state and local governments need to address.
La Crosse County Health Department Director Jen Rombalski said protecting groundwater quality needs to become part of statewide planning because it’s cheaper to maintain clean groundwater than it is to treat contaminated areas.
“It’s one of those things that we should have our eye on. We should know what needs to be updated,” Rombalski said.
The county health department is encouraging residents to have their wells tested for contamination, Rombalski said. The department will then work with landowners to find a solution if the drinking water is polluted.