WPHRN Brief: Private-Well Stewardship Among Wisconsin Well Owners

Approximately 940,000 households use private wells in Wisconsin. Currently, there is no required testing for well owners, leaving about a quarter of Wisconsin’s drinking water unregulated and untested. To quantify testing and treatment patterns of private well users in Wisconsin, Dr. Kristen Malecki, Associate Professor at UW-Madison and Director of the Survey of the Health of Wisconsin (SHOW), worked with a team of public health practitioners from the state health department and the Wisconsin DNR to better understand the factors surrounding private-well stewardship decisions. The study found that only about 10% of respondents had tested their private well within the last year. Notably, over 25% of participants did not know how to test their well water or what parameters to test. Further, 35% of individuals who found a problem with their well opted to take no action. To address the findings in this study, Malecki et al. suggest future targeted education and outreach efforts to encourage proper well stewardship.

Click here to read the WPHRN research brief summarizing the findings of this important study, including information on facilitators and barriers to well owners testing their well water.