MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) recently published its 2021 Annual Drinking Water Report. The report features statewide efforts that help public water systems provide safe and adequate drinking water supplies despite the continuing COVID-19 pandemic and other challenges.

Once again, Wisconsin gets high marks, with 98% of the state’s public water systems providing water that meets safe drinking water standards.

This impressive compliance record is only possible because of the collaboration between DNR and its many partners. The DNR relies on federal, state and local partners to successfully manage its drinking water resources. Throughout 2021, the DNR collaborated with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), county health officials, water consumers and public water system owners and operators.

“This annual report illustrates the commitment of the DNR and its partners to continue to provide safe drinking water for consumers while facing many challenges. Through collaboration, we treated nitrate contamination, replaced lead service lines and provided new water systems funding for small, underserved and disadvantaged communities,” said Steve Elmore, DNR Bureau of Drinking Water and Groundwater Program Director. “These significant accomplishments happened despite continued COVID-19 challenges.”

While DNR inspections and regular water monitoring are key to top-notch compliance results, dollars are important too. In late 2021, the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill (BIL) was passed and will help fund Wisconsin’s Safe Drinking Water Loan Program, lead service line replacement and efforts to address emerging contaminants, including perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water.

In the meantime, Wisconsin moved ahead with innovative approaches to funding lead service line replacement – one of the most effective methods for preventing exposure to lead in drinking water. Notably, in 2021, 60 communities benefited from $33.3 million in principal forgiveness funding for private lead service line replacement.

The Annual Drinking Water Reports are available on the DNR website or by calling 608-266-1054 to request a copy.

More information about the work the DNR is doing to provide safe, clean drinking water is available on the DNR website here.

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