Drunk Driving, Later School Start, Health Of Our Water Wells

Air Date:
Heard On Central Time

After a harsh winter, the fallen snow is finally melting away. Along with that, street salt and sand are also being washed away. What is this year’s snowmelt doing to our water wells? Veronica Rueckert and Rob Ferrett will find out. Plus, one guest says state lawmakers need to take off their “beer goggles.” And they’ll discuss whether a later school start would increase students’ performance in the classroom.

Featured in this Show

  • DNR: Watch Wells During Spring Run-Off Season

    About three-quarters of a million Wisconsin households rely on private wells, and as spring slowly arrives in the state, officials with the state Department of Natural Resources are warning homeowners to be on the lookout for signs of contamination.

    Combing melting snow and increased rainfall with a still-frozen ground, spring weather can lead to wells being flooded, which in turn exposes drinking water to contamination by bacteria and nitrates.

    Liesa Lehmann, acting private water section chief for the DNR, said the department has already received some reports of contamination during a brief warm-up in March. She said higher-then-average snowfall could make this a bigger year than usual for well contamination.

    She said well owners should keep an eye out during the melting season.

    “What’s important is that property owners are paying attention for signs of flooding or run-off that could introduce bacteria or other contamination into their water supply,” Lehman said.

    She said there can be contamination even without visible signs of flooding, so well owners should pay attention to their drinking water.

    “Look for signs of a change in the color, smell or taste of their drinking water,” Lehmann said. “If they notice any of those, [they should] stop drinking the water, make sure the well is disinfected, and have a follow-up sample done to make sure the water is safe.”

    Lehmann said lower lying wells and older wells are more susceptible to flooding.

    If contamination is suspected, Lehmann said there are a number of companies that can disinfect and test private wells. DNR officials keep a list of licensed service providers.

    She said the risk of contamination should go down after warm weather is here to stay.

    “Our experience is that once the frost is completely out of the ground, the higher risk of contamination from run-off is pretty much gone away,” she said.

    For more DNR info on wells, visit this DNR website.

  • Time To Tackle Drunken Driving

    As the state legislative session winds down for the year, one columnist says it’s unacceptable that lawmakers haven’t done more to tackle the drunken driving culture in Wisconsin. He explains why he says lawmakers need to take off their “beer goggles.”

  • The Argument For Starting School Later

    Recent research indicates that one likely way to improve student performance is to start schools later, especially for teenagers. Our guests today look at the science and the movement to let students sleep in.

  • Spring Thaw Could Contaminate Wisconsin Wells

    As the temperatures slowly get warmer in Wisconsin, the snow melt, residual frozen ground, and rain could affect private wells and drinking water. An expert from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources explains what the signs of well contamination are and what you can do if your well becomes tainted.

Episode Credits

  • Rob Ferrett Host
  • Veronica Rueckert Host
  • Cynthia Schuster Producer
  • Amanda Magnus Producer
  • James Causey Guest
  • Dolores Skowronek Guest
  • Kari Oakes Guest
  • Veronica Rueckert Interviewer