149 households in the Towns of Taycheedah, Empire, & Eden and the Village of Eden sampled their wells in March 2010.
This was one of the largest drinking water sampling programs UW-Extension has ever done in the state in terms of number of wells sampled and the number of sampling packages well owners chose to do. Because of such high participation, we were able to get excellent information about water quality in this region.
Here is what we learned:
• 16% of wells (23) had coliform bacteria present. Coliform bacteria can occur for a number of
reasons including poor well maintenance, cracked casing, rodents or insects. No e.coli, which
indicates the presence of human or animal waste, was found in any wells.
• 10% of wells (35) sampled had nitrate levels over the safe drinking water standard. Nitrate
levels have stayed relatively the same in these townships since the last sampling programs in 2001 &
2004. In this county, nitrate contamination is seen mostly in areas with shallow soils and fractured bedrock.
• 9% of wells (8) sampled in this program had arsenic levels over the health standard. This level
is 3 times as high as the state average. Arsenic is a naturally occurring element found in Wisconsin’s groundwater aquifers. It is released from soil and rock into the groundwater and drawn into wells. Wells in which arsenic was detected should be monitored closely in the coming years. Arsenic is a known carcinogen and is a serious health concern. It is recommended that people who live in these areas sample their well at least once for arsenic.
• None of the wells sampled contained pesticides (atrazine) higher than the drinking water
standard. Small amounts of atrazine were present in 27% of wells (25) sampled.