Eight Wisconsin legislators asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday to step in and require all Wisconsin municipalities to treat their tap water for potential viruses.

The request follows publication Friday by the journal Environmental Health Perspectives of a Wisconsin study showing a connection between viruses in drinking water and human illness.

Until a year ago, Wisconsin had a law requiring the treatment of all municipal drinking water systems. The Republican-controlled Legislature rescinded it.

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At least 60 Wisconsin communities do not treat drinking water to kill contaminants. The eight legislators are asking the EPA to take emergency measures to require these communities to do so, said Rep. Brett Hulsey, D-Madison.

Bill Cosh, a spokesman for the state Department of Natural Resources, said the state has been working side by side with the EPA on water quality issues. Municipalities that want to disinfect their water supplies are eligible for loan assistance from a DNR revolving loan fund, he said.

"We continue to recommend that all municipal drinking water systems continuously disinfect," Cosh said, adding the EPA decided not to require disinfection of all public water systems in a recent groundwater rule.

Capital W: Plug in to Wisconsin politics

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