Investigate Polluted Drinking Water

water pollution from dairy farms in Wisconsin

Target: Gina McCarthy, Administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Goal: Demand the EPA investigate the source of polluted drinking water and enforce a proper cleanup

A county in Wisconsin continually struggles with contaminates in the local water supply. The polluted water could derive from a variety of sources, but many residents consider the local dairy farms to be the main source of contamination. However, the local and state governments have yet to consider the polluted groundwater as a serious issue. Therefore, the time is now to ask the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to address this pollution problem by investigating the main sources of contamination and enforcing monitoring of the county’s drinking water.

One-third of Kewaunee County’s private drinking wells have tested positive for bacteria and nitrates. The water in the county continues to exceed state and federal regulations for human pathogen-related bacteria. Such contaminants in the drinking water pose a great risk to human health. Since 95 percent of the population in the county use the region’s groundwater aquifer for a freshwater supply, nearly the entire community of Kewaunee is at risk. Drinking water contaminated with human and animal waste bacteria causes gastrointestinal illness. Nitrates in drinking water are commonly associated with birth defects, especially blue baby syndrome. This syndrome is a potentially fatal disease in which cells do not receive enough oxygen. Current and future generations are threatened by the continued acceptance of such polluted drinking water.

The groundwater quality in the county depends on the land use. Since the economy of the county relies on agriculture, especially livestock agriculture, the residents infer these practices are the reason for the groundwater contamination. Predominantly dairy farms, the number of dairy cows in the region has significantly increased in the past three decades. Although large farms produce the most manure, which is the likeliest cause of contamination, small farms are less monitored.

By signing this petition, you are urging the EPA, under the jurisdiction of the Safe Drinking Water Act, to investigate the causes of groundwater contamination in Kewaunee County.


Dear Administrator McCarthy,

Clean drinking water is a precious resource. However, the citizens of Kewaunee County in Wisconsin struggle with nitrate and bacteria-contaminated groundwater. Nearly one third of the private wells have tested positive for bacteria and nitrates. Most of the residents in the county rely on the underground aquifer for fresh drinking water. To protect these residents and their water supply, a proper investigation and monitoring must be conducted.

Drinking water contaminated with bacteria causes gastrointestinal illness, and consuming water with nitrates causes birth defects. Current and future residents are at risk. Since the local and state government continue to drag their feet on this issue, the EPA must step in to help this community. Dominated by livestock agriculture, many of the residents blame the dairy farms for the contaminated water.

I am urging you to please take action, under the Safe Drinking Water Act, to investigate the reason behind the water contamination. If agriculture is to blame, strict monitoring and efficient handling practices should be enforced.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture via Flickr

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