Water contamination problems for Kewaunee County town

TOWN OF LINCOLN – People in one Kewaunee County community say ongoing well contamination problems have gotten worse.

As the weather warms up, residents in the town of Lincoln are reporting more issues with polluted water.

The thin soil and fractured bedrock make the area more susceptible to runoff problems.

“Nice water sure. Looks nice, but looks can be deceiving,” said resident Mick Sagrillo.

Sagrillo, who’s lived in Lincoln for 30 plus years, says tests show what you can’t see.

“Nitrates and bacteria,” Sagrillo said.

He’s been forced to buy bottled water for more than a decade because of a contaminated well.

“We use that for cooking, for drinking. We’ve been fortunate in that we have not had brown water so we have not had a problem with showering, bathing, doing dishes,” said Sagrillo.

Bad water is nothing new in Lincoln. Numbers show out of 75 wells tested last summer, just over half (50.7%) were contaminated.

The Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation Department is conducting a new yearlong well testing study looking at the problem

“This is just kind of a targeted, more specific, ramped up program that we’re doing here,” said Andy Wallander, Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation Department.

Wallander says the reasons for bad water are twofold.

“Agriculture is probably the major reason why we have bad water in those areas. Certainly there are septic systems up there as well they do play their part,” said Wallander.

Residents say the problem gets worse during the spring thaw.

“It started two weeks ago,” said Lincoln Town Chairman Cory Cochart.

Cochart is getting calls from people.

“There was two instances where people turned their faucet on and found brown water coming out,” said Cochart.

So he organized a bottled water drive to help residents coping with unusable well water.

Cochart says he is looking for people to donate gallons or cases of bottled, sealed water to help those in need.

“The water donations is interesting because it’s sort of a stopgap measure but that’s not a solution,” said Sagrillo.

Sagrillo says the solution is to stop polluting groundwater in the first place.

Wallander says the hope is evidence from the new study helps make that happen. But getting help from the state will also be critical.

“It’s fallen on deaf ears so far down in Madison, but I think that’s where we need to focus our energies to get meaningful workable regulations,” said Wallander.

Click here if you want to help out with water donations for town residents.

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