Clean Wisconsin released the following statement on the first round of private well water data collected through the Southwest Wisconsin Groundwater and Geology (SWIGG) Study:

“It’s alarming that over 40 percent of private wells tested in Southwest Wisconsin have nitrate and/or bacterial contamination,” said Clean Wisconsin water program director Scott Laeser. “These alarming results should be a wakeup call for our leaders at all levels of government to get to the bottom of this problem and ultimately address it.

“Unfortunately, this data reinforces an emerging pattern of underappreciated and underreported well water contamination across the state, from Northeast to Central Wisconsin, the La Crosse area, and now Southwest Wisconsin.

“Well water contamination is a critical public health issue. Drinking contaminated water is like riding in the car without a seatbelt; you might never get in an accident, and you might not get sick by drinking contaminated water, but it’s not worth the risk. Wisconsin families have a right to clean drinking water and to not have to take that risk.

“The results from this first round of testing show the importance of the SWIGG study, and we are pleased Grant, Iowa, and Lafayette Counties took the initiative to fund it. We hope these counties will continue to do so and that additional state resources will be available to support this important work.

“As this important study progresses and we learn more about the scale of contamination and where it’s coming from, we need our leaders to start talking about actions we can take to clean up and protect citizen’s drinking water.”