As the problem evolves across the state, Tony Evers, the governor of Wisconsin, is pushing to tighten up the laws in order to decrease the nitrate contamination in rural drinking and surface waters.
The core problem lies in the fact that many farmers add nitrogen fertilizers to the soil. Nitrate has found its way through agricultural runoffs and got into the groundwater. For utilities, it’s mandatory to control and remove surplus nitrate from water, but if we talk about private well owners, they usually don’t think of that kind of protection. Only 16% of privately owned wells get tested every year.
Clean Wisconsin environmental group took a favorable position regarding new nitrate performance standards for the application of nitrates in farm fields. It’s a step forward for the surface drinking water safety.
According to the residents of the village of Spring Green, they didn’t know, when they settled a decade ago, that the level of nitrate in well waters was high. They were told by the officials from the agency for environmental protection that the water was nitrate-free and safe to drink. The locals had to switch to bottled water after they had learned about the impact of higher levels of nitrate on health of the locals, especially newborns and expecting mothers.
High-level nitrate in relation to health problems like diabetes, cancer, and hyperthyroidism isn’t researched well yet.
For now, Wisconsin officials have taken their responsibility of announcing the application of the clean water act seriously. Wisconsin governor has addressed the issue in front of the federal executive department for natural resources. In that way, he started the process of creating new procedures regarding water protection.