Clean Water for All
Few natural resources so define our state as water – from the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River. Water is life-giving and the most important thing we share in our community. Without clean drinking water, no community can thrive.
Clean drinking water is an environmental issue, but it’s also an issue of justice. Decades of structural racism and disinvestment result in higher rates of lead in the water of Black family homes in Milwaukee. Political inaction and corporate malpractice keep PFAS contamination out of public view and undermine efforts to protect communities around the state from contamination.
We all deserve access to clean drinking water. Across Wisconsin, we are advocating for clean drinking water to protect our health so all Wisconsinites can thrive.
Our water in danger
Water in Wisconsin is suffering, and as it suffers so do our communities. Hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites face the threat of PFAS, bacteria, chemicals, nitrate, pesticides, lead, and other contaminants in their drinking water. These dangerous chemicals and contaminants make our water unsafe to drink and cause serious, permanent damage to our health.
Republicans and Democrats alike talk about the need for clean drinking water. But talk is easy, and the solutions needed to clean up our drinking water are big and will require bold action. Learn more about some of the most prevalent threats to our water below and some solutions you can help make possible.
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of highly toxic human-made chemicals resistant to heat, water, and oil. PFAS have been linked to a number of negative health effects, including: increased cholesterol levels, thyroid disease, high blood pressure, lower infant birth weight, decreased fertility in women, and decreased body response to vaccines.
CLICK HERE TO TAKE ACTION ON PFAS
Often referred to as “forever chemicals,” PFAS do not break down in the environment – and they are being discovered in communities around Wisconsin. Thanks to Gov. Evers, Wisconsin passed its first ever PFAS standards in 2022. But, there's still work to completely eliminate this harmful toxin from our waters.
Learn more about the threat of PFAS to your community and how to take action here.
Nitrate is the most common groundwater contaminant in Wisconsin. It enters our water largely from agricultural run-off that gets into our groundwater, lakes, and streams. Nitrate is linked to health effects including cancer, birth defects, even infant death. Nearly 100,000 homes in Wisconsin have wells contaminated with nitrate.
Learn more about the threat of nitrate to your community and how to take action here.
There is no safe amount of lead for a person to ingest. Lead usually enters our drinking water through the aged lead pipes, faucets, and other plumbing components that service our communities and that older and less-regulated homes and buildings can contain. Excessive lead ingestion can damage the brain, kidneys, nervous system, blood, and reproductive system. The effects of lead ingestion are particularly dangerous to young children and infants, which can permanently damage their mental and physical development.
In Wisconsin, more than 176,000 lead service lines are in operation today, and more than 80 communities have lead pipes in their systems. The percent of children with high blood-lead levels in Wisconsin exceeds the national average, hovering around five percent. Some communities, like Watertown and Milwaukee, have levels over eight percent, meaning one in twelve children have lead poisoning.
Learn more about the threat of lead to your community and how to take action here.
Testing your drinking water is crucial
Unlike municipal water systems, private well water testing is the homeowner’s responsibility. If you depend on a well for your water, it's essential to test it for toxins. If you're not ready to commit to a test use this well water map from UW-Stevens Point. It can give you an idea of the water quality where you live. Unfortunately, 10 percent of homeowners test their water only every couple years while 30 percent test every 5-10 years, and the remaining test rarely or only once. Water quality changes constantly, it's wise to test at least once a year for nitrate and bacteria. Click below for a complete guide on well water testing.