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Common Well Water Issues in South Central Wisconsin

Though most well water is perfectly safe to drink, it may contain some potentially dangerous contaminants like nitrates or arsenic. These chemicals can’t be detected without a water test.

Learn about the common well water issues in your area.

Hard Water

Hard water leaves behind minerals that clog up appliances, leave stains and make your skin dry and your clothes dull and scratchy.

Total Hardness (mg/l as CaCO₃)


Hard water CaCO3 Levels
Map of Wisconsin showing CaCO3 Levels


Nitrates are an invisible and potentially harmful impurity that can’t be detected without a water test and can cause “Blue Baby” syndrome—a decrease in the oxygen-carrying capacity of hemoglobin, which is often fatal.

Nitrates (mg/l as N)


Key for nitrate level map
Map of nitrate levels in Wisconsin counties


Arsenic is a naturally occurring element found in soil and bedrock throughout Wisconsin. Under certain conditions, arsenic can be released into groundwater and enter water wells.

Nitrates (ug/l (ppb))*


Key for the Wisconsin arsenic level map

EPA standards for maximum arsenic contaminant levels is 10 ppb*.

*1 ppb (parts per billion) is one part concentration per one billion parts. For example: A single drop of ink added to gasoline in a large tanker truck would be an ink concentration of 1 ppb. ppb is one of the smallest measurements of concentration.

Source: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources link to

Map of Arsenic levels in Wisconsin counties

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