Nearly two-thirds of Wisconsin residents get their drinking water from private wells. Some questions are being raised about the safety of that water though, after a recent UW study estimated only about 11-percent of well owners are testing them on an annual basis.

DNR drinking water program supervisor Steve Ales says that estimate is not a surprise at all, since many people don’t question the quality of their water until somebody gets sick or it stops flowing out of the tap. However, he says it is something to worry about, since wells can easily be contaminated with bacteria or have high nitrate levels that can be dangerous for pregnant women and young children.

Ales says well owners should consider testing for bacteria at least once a year. If nitrate levels are consistently low, he says a test should be run about every five years.

The DNR maintains a list of certified testing facilities on its website.

AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:10)


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