By Tim Kowols
The depth to bedrock and recharge events were two key factors discovered to cause well water contamination across Kewaunee County according to a presentation given by researchers in Luxemburg Wednesday evening. Over 200 people attended the presentation with Mark Borchardt from the United States Department of Agriculture and Maureen Muldoon from UW-Oshkosh presenting the data from their yearlong study. The study points to contamination from leaking septic tanks and manure spreading as the culprit for up to 28 percent of private wells in Kewaunee County testing positive for total coliforms, E.Coli, or nitrates and those issues spiking in areas with shallower soils. The study also showed contamination by manure would increase during recharge events like heavy rains and snowmelt while leaking septic tanks caused more problems during other times of the year. Borchardt says he has not seen numbers like this in his 25-plus year career.
The work is not yet done for Borchardt as he hopes to dive deeper into the numbers and publish a paper on the topic by the end of the year. Davina Bonness from the Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation Department says more information from the study, including a mapping of some of the affected areas, will be available within the month on the Kewaunee County Web site.