De Pere – Nitrate pollution in local groundwater has reached unsafe levels for residents in several parts of Assembly District 2, according data collected from Brown and Manitowoc Counties. People around Greenleaf, Cooperstown, Maribel and north of Kellnersville and Francis Creek have all had wells test high for nitrate pollution. When consumed, water contaminated by nitrates can be dangerous to one’s health, especially for infants and people who are pregnant. 

Toxins from nitrates in drinking water have been linked to cases of thyroid disease, cancer and blue baby syndrome in Wisconsin studies. Public health officials set the unsafe limit for nitrates at 10 parts per million; people with wells that test over this limit should consider switching to bottled water. Residents who want to have their well water tested should contact one of these labs certified by Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources:

Low-income residents who have their wells test high for nitrates and other dangerous pollutants—including PFAS chemicals, arsenics, and bacteria, such as certain harmful strains of E.Coli—may now be eligible to receive a reimbursement for the cost to replace or abandon a contaminated well. Governor Tony Evers recently announced reforms to the Well Compensation Grant Program to include more well owners. Previously, only nitrate-contaminated livestock wells testing above 40 parts per million were eligible to apply for the program, and arsenic and PFAS pollutants—a growing problem in Wisconsin—were not considered. 

Evers’ expansion of the Well Compensation Grant Program is funded by $10 million in federal money received in the American Rescue Plan. People can apply for grants on a first come first serve basis until the funds run out. Residents can learn more and apply here:

Renee Gasch (D-De Pere), candidate running for Assembly District 2 in the November 8th election, issued the following statement:

“Every person in Wisconsin deserves clean water, and no family should have to drink contaminated water because they cannot afford to replace a well. I am grateful to Governor Evers for finding the funding to include more people in the Well Compensation Grant Program. The people of Assembly District 2 will benefit directly from the expansion, and I encourage everyone with a private well on their land to get their water tested. 

Clean water is vital to our state and to our district. Northeast Wisconsin’s 2nd Assembly District runs from the shores of the Fox River in De Pere to the beaches of Lake Michigan in Two Rivers. Residents who live around the sandy soils in the central part of the district and along the bedrock of the Niagara Escarpment are at greater risk of having contaminated well water and should take caution. I’m committed to working with the residents and businesses of Assembly District 2 to clean up our groundwater so we can all have clean drinking water and healthy fisheries in Northeast Wisconsin.”

Water quality data was compiled and illustrated by the Renee for Assembly campaign using publicly available information from the Brown County Land and Water Conservation Department and the Manitowoc County Soil and Water Department, which collects water quality data for the region.

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