Portage County Well Water Quality Project

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In the summer of 2017, Portage County will be conducting a water quality sampling project of 229 drinking water wells throughout the County to evaluate the current status of drinking water.  Portage County has partnered with the Center for Watershed Science and Education at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point to provide logistical support, water sampling, and data analysis.

The purpose of this project is to generate baseline data on the current status of groundwater quality throughout Portage County.  This information can be used to help identify groundwater quality concerns, inform groundwater management decisions, provide focus for outreach efforts, and aid in the understanding of future changes in groundwater quality in Portage County

 

How were participants chosen?

Project organizers placed a 4-square mile grid over the entire County.  One well was randomly chosen from each area, creating a grid of 229 random well samples over the County (please see graphic below for approximate locations of chosen wells).  Chosen homeowners will receive a letter in the mail in May that details the project, as well as postcard that they can fill out indicating whether they would like to participate in the project.  If a homeowner declines to participate a well closest to the selected one will be contacted to see if they would like to participate.

 Map of Randomized Initial Well Selection

What tests will be performed?

All samples will be analyzed for nitrate-nitrogen, pH, alkalinity, hardness, chloride, and conductivity.  A “corrosivity index”, the tendency of water to dissolve copper or lead out of plumbing, will be calculated.  Results from the tests will be available in late summer 2017.  All results will be mailed directly to the homeowner with informational materials.  The results will also be shared anonymously with the public during a public presentations at the end of the project.

 

Project Timeline and Updates

May 2017 – Initial mailing to selected participants

June 2017 – Sampling of wells

July 2017 – Sample Analysis completed by the Water and Environmental Analysis Laboratory

August 2017 – Data analysis and results/outcomes of the sampling project

 

Project Assistants

Coming soon!

 

If you have any questions regarding the project, you can contact Jen McNelly, Portage County Water Resource Specialist, at 715-346-1334 or mcnellyj@co.portage.wi.us or Amy Nitka, project manager, at the Center for Watershed Science and Education at 715-346-4078, or amy.nitka@uwsp.edu