Groundwater Program Process
Protect and understand groundwater quality to supply clean water for drinking and recharging surface waters and wetlands.
- A baseline inventory of drinking water quality is available in Douglas County.
- Potential impacts to groundwater are minimized (road salt, herbicides, etc.).
- Private wells are properly sealed and closed when not in use.
- Manure storage systems follow standards to protect groundwater.
- Develop and implement a home well sampling program – at a minimum test for nitrates and bacteria. Record the results in a data base and map in a Geographic Information System (GIS).
- Provide cost sharing and technical assistance for well closures.
- Provide technical assistance in the planning, design, and construction or closure of manure storage facilities.
RECOMMENDATION FROM THE LARGE LIVESTOCK FACILITIES STUDY GROUP
The Douglas County Large Livestock Facilities Study Group was formed in 2016 to address the issues of regulating large livestock facilities, i.e. Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) in Douglas County. The study group recommended that Douglas County should gain a better understanding of the baseline quality of our surface and groundwater resources in order to make informed decisions about locating CAFOs in Douglas County. The study group recommended that priority be given for well testing through the groundwater program in areas where CAFOs would potentially be located in the future.
WISCONSIN COASTAL MANAGEMENT GRANT PROPOSAL
Douglas County has received a grant from the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program to begin a Groundwater Program, completing the following tasks in 2017-2018:
TASK 1: GROUNDWATER SUSCEPTIBILITY GIS ANALYSIS
This task will compile existing datasets and produce draft maps to guide design of a groundwater well sampling program. Geology and soils, depth to groundwater, land use, aquifer extent and use, surface water quality and impairment status information will be combined with data present in the on-line 2007 USGS/UW-Extension Groundwater Contamination Susceptibility Map tool. The compiled data will be used to identify focus areas within the county that have both a moderate to high susceptibility for contamination, the potential for large livestock facilities use, and a scarcity of existing data on groundwater quality and use.
Timeline: October - December 2017
Major milestones: Draft maps will be completed and used to educate well owners and the public about the well sampling program and groundwater use and susceptibility in general.
TASK 2: GROUNDWATER WELL SAMPLING PROGRAM
This task is aimed at providing an understanding of baseline groundwater quality conditions in areas of the county that are susceptible to groundwater contamination. A voluntary well sampling program will be designed, targeting up to 500 well owners, who will be contacted within the focus areas identified in Task 1. Participation will be limited to approximately 100 participants, and well owners will be charged a nominal fee ($20) for participation, a subsidized cost for well testing. Sampling kits will be distributed, collected, and delivered to the lab at UW-Stevens Point. Laboratory analysis results will be summarized and distributed to participants.
Timeline: January - March 2018
Major milestones: An education/solicitation event will be held to encourage participation, a press article will be published, and flyers will be mailed. Samples will be collected by well-owners and delivered to centralized locations for delivery to UW-Steven’s Point. Sample analysis will take place, and data received and verified by the county. Data will be added to the existing dataset, and baseline water quality maps will be prepared.
TASK 3: TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE FOR PROPERLY CLOSING WELLS
This task will encourage proper well abandonment by educating targeted well owners about the importance of limiting the potential of well contamination on their property. Well owners will be offered technical assistance and cost sharing to properly seal wells that are no longer in use. Participation will be limited by requests and available cost share funding; however 5 wells will be sought to properly abandon.
Timeline: January - June 2018
Major milestones: Information and other educational materials about cost sharing and well abandonment will be included with the other outreach aspects of the county groundwater program. Five wells will be sought to properly abandon through cost share program.
- Water quality data for areas of Douglas County that are susceptible to groundwater pollution. These will be made available to the UW-Extension for use in their water quality viewer.
- County-scale susceptibility and water quality maps for use in education and results distribution.
- Five wells properly abandoned through cost sharing and well abandonment program.
- Douglas County Health & Human Services Department
- Wisconsin Land+Water Conservation Association
- UW-Steven’s Point lab testing facility
- UW-Extension Groundwater Education Specialist
- Barr Engineering