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We monitor water quality and make sure that regulation and control efforts are followed.

Water Quality in Dane County

Access to quality drinking water is key to the health and well-being of Dane County residents. We expect our tap water to be clean and safe, and it almost always is in Dane County.

The biggest threats to safe drinking water in Dane County are:

  • Nitrates: Nitrates are particularly harmful to infants and pregnant people. Private wells can be contaminated by:

    • fertilizers and other agricultural or industrial chemicals
    • over-fertilization of crops or lawns
    • animal waste run-off, and
    • failing septic systems.
  • Lead: Lead and other metals can be released into the drinking water from old plumbing pipes, solder, and fixtures.
  • Chloride & Sodium: Surface and ground water monitoring shows that chloride and sodium levels are increasing. This is from 60 years of applying road salt in winter. The chloride and sodium levels are not a health hazard currently. See the animation below to see how chloride levels have changed over time:

Recently, drinking water contaminated with perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) has been getting a lot of attention. The Madison Water Utility has information about PFAS found in Madison wells. Our Environmental Hazards website section has general PFAS information.

If you are concerned about the quality of your drinking water:

  • All community water utilities are required to provide customers with a Consumer Confidence Report by July 1 of each year. If you did not get a report, contact your water system or generate your own on the Department of Natural Resources website.
  • Get information on how to get your water tested.

Water Quality Reports