In Dane County, all drinking water comes from groundwater. Maintaining this resource is therefore vital for our quality of life. Some water issues pose unique challenges for groundwater resource planning.


Dane County Groundwater Protection Planning Framework

In 2017, a comprehensive analysis entitled Dane County Groundwater Protection Planning Framework examined regional groundwater issues.

Report Goals
  •  Identify and characterize the location of groundwater and related physical resources (soils, geology, water table depth, springs, etc.)
  • Evaluate, characterize and portray existing groundwater quality and quantity data for the county
  • Inventory and assess existing and potential pollution sources in Dane County
  • Describe and evaluate existing federal, state, and local programs that pertain to groundwater management
  • Recommend groundwater protection strategies to improve groundwater management and prevent groundwater pollution
  • Evaluate alternative management strategies for addressing groundwater quantity issues
  • Provide regional water supply planning information for subsequent water supply planning purposes required under Wis. Stats. 281.348
  • Create and share new products including Zone of Contribution and Groundwater Contamination Risk maps
  • Introduce the use of groundwater budget indices and fish response curves to assess the sustainability of local water supply plans within a regional framework

Identified Issues

  • High nitrate-nitrogen levels (above the recommended drinking water standard) in a significant percentage (25%) of private wells in the county
  • Increasing salt levels (concentrations) in municipal wells
  • Organic chemical detections in some water supply wells near abandoned landfills and underground storage tanks
  • A general lack of information on, and monitoring of, the possible effects of emerging pollutants (e.g., pharmaceuticals, personal care products, endocrine disrupters)
  • Lack of rigorous enforcement in regulating land disposal of septage
  • Reductions in ground and surface water levels due to high-capacity well water withdrawals