bathroom faucetWe track water quality, make sure regulations are followed, and respond to complaints about illegal dumping.

Water Quality in Dane County

Access to quality drinking water is key to our health and well-being. 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: Old plumbing pipes, solder, and fixtures can release lead and other metals into drinking water.
  • Chloride & Sodium: Tracking shows that sodium and chloride levels are increasing in our ground and surface waters. 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:

Madison Water Utility is monitoring drinking water supplies in all municipal wells for PFAS contamination. More information on municipal well testing and results is available through the Madison Water Utility.

Public water systems are not required to test for PFAS and many in Dane County do not. Contact your municipality if you would like to know about PFAS testing in your community.

Learn more about PFAS on our webpage.

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