Know your numbers
Sometimes it’s tempting to think, what we don’t know can’t hurt us. When it comes to drinking water, however, that’s not the case. It’s important to know your numbers, and take action if they are high.
If it’s been more than a year since you’ve had your family’s well water tested, it’s testing time. Having your drinking water tested is the only way to tell what kinds and amounts of contaminants it contains.
Sections of Jefferson County and Dane County have nitrates, E. coli bacteria, aluminum, arsenic, atrazine, and/or lead in drinking water from private wells.
For test results in your township and section, go to https://www.uwsp.edu/cnrap/watershed/Pages/wellwaterviewer
The map shows, for example, 23% of drinking water tested in the Medina area exceeded the health standard for nitrate. The highest nitrate reading of those recorded in Medina was 23.7 mg/l, with the health standard exceeded at a level of 10 or higher.
Nitrates are the most common contaminants in Wisconsin groundwater. They also serve as an indicator of the possible presence of other contaminants, like pesticides or organic chemicals from septic systems.
Nitrates in drinking water pose special dangers to infants and pregnant women. High levels have also been linked to higher cancer rates in adults, and brain tumors, leukemia, and nose and throat tumors in kids. (https://archive.epa.gov/region5/teach/web/pdf/nitrates_summary.pdf)
Jefferson County Health Department will sample well water free of charge for households with a pregnant woman or newborn.
A certified, public lab is recommended for testing private well water, like the State Laboratory of Hygiene in Madison (608-224-6262) or UW Steven’s Point (877-383-8378); not a company which sells water softeners or filtration devices.
What does testing cost? The Homeowner Package through the Water and Environmental Analysis Lab at UW-Stevens Point (eight tests, including total coliform bacteria and E. coli, nitrate plus nitrite-nitrogen, and chloride) is $52.
Testing for metals (arsenic, lead, etc.) runs $49; pesticides, $30-$175. (www.uwsp.edu/cnr-ap/weal) All test results through UW Stevens Point go into a statewide data base (individuals are not identified), helping residents obtain safe water.
If your drinking water tests high, purchasing a home reverse osmosis drinking water system provides protection. Independent third-party certification of RO systems is available through National Sanitation Foundation (NFS) and Water Quality Association (WQA). An NSF standard of 58 is recommended.
Safe drinking water is paramount to health and life. Why not make an annual water check-up part of your health plan?
Anita J. Martin
The Waterloo Alumni Banquet was held Saturday evening, May 18, at the Waterloo High School cafeteria. I was very impressed by the scholarship money given by the Class of 1969. Over $3,000 was awarded to four high school seniors to further their education by attending various colleges. It was said by the class representative of the 1969 class, when they graduated, they were a “class of achievers”....indeed they were and are still today.
It was also stated throughout the evening, including the 1969 class speaker, “remember where you came from” ....remember the school song, remember the “spirit” in my words of your teachers, your parents, your friends in a small town called Waterloo.
Thank you Jean Holzhueter for moving back to Waterloo a couple of years ago to pick up the Alumni Association and give it the “spirit” that was there decades ago. I work with people returning to Waterloo to remember their heritage, their family beginnings, their one room school, or the first public school that was on East Polk Street, where I graduated from. It was rewarding to hear words of “remembering.”
It was an enjoyable program and event. The class of 1969, you are indeed a class of “achievers.” You have achieved in reminding us what life is all about...giving back but also “remembering where you came from.” Thank you for remembering.
Maureen Wolfgram Giese
Class of 1952