MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers announced today the release of the Year of Clean Drinking Water Report prepared at his request by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) outlining the path to clean water for all. The full report can be found here.
Gov. Evers declared 2019 the Year of Clean Drinking Water. Action began immediately with several key initiatives that were included in the Governor’s 2019-21 biennial budget proposal. At the governor’s request, the DNR compiled the Year of Clean Drinking Water Report which focuses on accomplishments and plans for achieving and maintaining clean drinking water throughout the state.
“My administration is continuing to connect the dots to address the challenges of getting safe drinking water to all Wisconsinites. But we are going to need to take more action in the future to achieve our goals and that will take bold legislative action,” Gov. Evers said. “This report and the previous recommendations to the Speaker’s Water Quality Task Force provide a good road map for the tough work ahead.”
The report highlights the fight for Wisconsin’s drinking water, unsafe levels of nitrates posing drinking water dangers statewide, emerging health concerns regarding PFAS contamination across the state and the need for lead service line replacement.
“The DNR has spent the last year moving forward on three fronts to bring clean drinking water to people across our state,” said DNR Secretary-designee Preston D. Cole. “This report identifies several achievements to address the problem of contamination in our private drinking water wells, the threat posed by lead service lines in public water systems and the emerging threat from human made chemical compounds such as PFAS. Now we must collectively move forward on the hard work ahead, as outlined in this report.”
Ahead of today’s report, in October Gov. Evers endorsed water quality recommendations from the DNR, Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection, and the Department of Health Services following the Speaker’s Task Force on Water Quality hearings.
At the governor’s direction, senior staff from each of those agencies attended the hearings, testified before the Task Force, and listened to the concerns voiced by the people of Wisconsin. The most extensive feedback the Task Force received focused on five areas: 1) nitrate in groundwater; 2) nonpoint pollution; 3) PFAS; 4) lead in drinking water; and 5) pathogens in groundwater. A letter detailing the agencies' recommendations can be found here.