By Joe Zepecki
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers recently announced expansion of the state’s program to ensure residents who rely on private wells for drinking water have access to clean water. As more and more communities identify potentially harmful chemicals or other contaminants in drinking water sources, the new push by Evers to ensure private wells are providing clean, safe water comes as a relief to those in smaller, rural communities.
“I’m thrilled to have worked with Governor Evers to launch this new program to help so many families across Wisconsin finally secure the resources they need to access clean water,” said State Rep. Katrina Shankland (D-Stevens Point), “Too many people have been searching for solutions to help them address their well contamination issues and coming up empty due to the unnecessarily prohibitive requirements of our state’s existing grant program.”
The moves to expand eligibility and ease the burdensome regulatory requirements to participate in the state program include:
- Eliminating contaminant specific rules that limited the program to wells that serve as a water supply for livestock.
- Lowering the threshold for contaminants like arsenic to align with federal guidelines.
- Expanding eligibility to churches, rural restaurants and other small businesses.
According to the state, expanding eligibility access for the program could address contamination in more than 1,000 wells.
The move comes on the heels of an announcement that Evers and Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul had filed suit against manufacturers of ‘forever chemicals’ that have contaminated Wisconsin water sources.
Evers was able to expand the well program using federal dollars available through the American Rescue Plan, which every Wisconsin Republican in Congress, including U.S. Senator Ron Johnson, voted against.