Drinking Water News Roundup: Wisconsin wells contaminated by sewage, First Nations boil advisories, lead pipes

Drinking Water News Roundup: Wisconsin wells contaminated by sewage, First Nations boil advisories, lead pipes
October 12, 2020 Grace Dempsey

From lead pipes to PFAS, drinking water contamination is a major issue plaguing cities and towns all around the Great Lakes. Cleaning up contaminants and providing safe water to everyone is an ongoing public health struggle.

Keep up with drinking water-related developments in the Great Lakes area.

Click on the headline to read the full story:


The Environmental Protection Agency is set to install six groundwater monitoring wells to investigate the contaminated water plume beneath much of Kokomo.

The water plume provides around 55,000 residents with drinking water, but it is contaminated with arsenic and vinyl chloride, a manufactured chemical used in the production of plastic products and packaging materials.


Autumn Peltier, age 15, is Anishinaabekwe and a member of Wiikwemkoong First Nation. She has pressed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau directly about the ongoing threat that oil pipelines pose to the environment, specifically clean drinking water.

The Trudeau government promised to end all long-term water boil advisories on First Nations reserves by March 2021. As of last March, 88 were lifted, but 61 still remain.


Pennsylvania American Water is urging customers to voluntarily reduce their water consumption in support of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Drought Warning for McKean County.

The company is asking residents and businesses to reduce their individual water usage by 10-15 percent in counties in drought warning status. According to DEP, this amounts to a reduction of 3-6 gallons of water per day and 6-9 gallons of water per day, respectively, based on a statewide average.

The former superintendent of a Pennsylvania school district and two other officials were charged Wednesday with felony child endangerment over allegations they covered up lead and asbestos contamination in the schools and exposed students and staff to serious health risks.

Starting in 2016, officials in the Scranton School District were repeatedly told about dangerous lead levels in drinking water in at least 10 schools but failed to ensure tainted water fountains and sinks were disconnected or remediated and misled the public about the problem, according to a grand jury presentment released Wednesday.


Researchers with the Southwest Wisconsin Groundwater and Geology Study recently completed a fourth round of tests on private wells in Grant, Lafayette, and Iowa counties that had shown previous signs of contamination. They found that contamination is more often caused by human waste than animal manure.

Southern Wisconsin’s porous bedrock means runoff from farm fields and private septic systems can seep into the aquifers tapped for drinking water, leading to contaminated wells.

United States:

A draft of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s final revision of the Lead and Copper Rule revealed today indicates the agency will significantly weaken public health protections against lead contaminated drinking water being delivered to millions of homes across the nation. 

The revised LCR will allow most of the 6 to 10 million lead pipes that deliver water to homes across the country to remain in use permanently, Replacing these pipes would be the best way to ensure every person, wherever they live, will get water that is safe from lead.

Read more drinking water headlines on Great Lakes Now:

Drinking Water News Roundup: Drilling fluid contamination, mining pollution concerns, tribal community grants

Drinking Water News Roundup: lead in Pittsburgh, NY stream protection bill

Explainer: Who regulates U.S. drinking water, and how?

Policy Expert Q&A: Keep advocating with elected officials for safe drinking water

House Democrats Ask CDC to Halt Water Shutoffs during the Pandemic

Featured image: In this July 20, 2018, file photo, a lead pipe is shown after being replaced by a copper water supply line to a home in Flint, Mich. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)


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