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Tests Show More Southwest Wisconsin Wells Contaminated

73 Percent Of Private Wells In Grant, Iowa, Lafayette Counties Were Contaminated With Human Or Livestock Manure

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Jean Carter with the water spigot used to test her well water
Jean Carter poses for a photograph with the water spigot that is used to test her well water, Friday, Oct. 14, 2011 in Dimock, Pa. Alex Brandon/AP Photo

Additional tests show more southwestern Wisconsin wells are contaminated with manure.

Scientists tested 34 private wells in Grant, Iowa and Lafayette counties in mid-August and found 25, or 73 percent, were contaminated with human or livestock manure.

The wells are a subset of 840 wells sampled in November 2018 and April 2019. About 32 percent showed evidence of bacterial or nitrate pollution. Researchers have begun testing smaller subsets of those wells to gather more details.

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Tests on an initial 35-well subset in April showed 91 percent were contaminated with human or livestock manure.

Lafayette County officials in November accused media outlets of reporting 91 percent of the entire region’s wells were contaminated. They threatened to prosecute journalists who reported on the second round of tests without quoting a county news release verbatim but later backed off amid a firestorm of criticism.

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