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MADISON — Wisconsin’s drinking water supply remained safe and affordable in 2014 thanks to shared efforts by local water suppliers, the state and professional associations among others, according to an annual report on drinking water by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
During the year, public water systems continued their strong performance, with 95.5 percent or 10,904 of 11,420 systems meeting all health-based standards, a level virtually unchanged from the prior year. These systems had no water samples exceeding health-based standards for regulated contaminants.
“Wisconsin’s public water systems serve their communities well, providing citizens with a safe, reliable and affordable supply of drinking water,” said Jill Jonas, director of DNR’s Bureau of Drinking Water and Groundwater. “These systems continue to reinvest in infrastructure improvements and training to ensure consistent long-term performance.” DNR continues to work with public water systems through assistance from staff, contractors and county contacts to ensure that water samples are collected and public notices are issued correctly.
Fewer formal enforcement actions were needed in 2014. This improvement is partly due to DNR’s work in previous years establishing long-term agreements with several public water systems for correcting their violations.
On average, Wisconsin residents pay $5.50 for 1,000 gallons of tap water – mere fractions of a penny per gallon according to the state Public Service Commission.
Thirty-one communities received more than $52 million in assistance for drinking water system infrastructure improvements, of which $46.2 million was low interest loans. These low interest loans can provide a cost savings of up to 30 percent to communities, enabling them to address challenges more quickly and economically.
For more information, search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov for “annual drinking water report.” More information about Wisconsin’s drinking and groundwater also is available online.