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DNR investigating private well contamination in SE Wisconsin

Water well (courtesy of articles4all.org)
Water well (courtesy of articles4all.org)

MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - The state DNR says it’s investigating private well contamination in several areas of Milwaukee, Waukesha, and Racine counties.

Officials said they found excessive levels of molybdenum in 44 water wells among 153 it tested in Oak Creek, Franklin, Muskego, and the Racine County towns of Raymond, Caledonia, and Norway.

The DNR said 11,000 private wells are located in the areas that were tested. And the elevated molybdenum is too spread out to be from one source.

It’s a naturally-occurring metal. Officials say it’s an essential food nutrient in small amounts – but excessive amounts can lead to gout and digestive problems.

Besides food, the metal is present in waste sources – like foundry sand and coal ash.

State health epidemiologist Elizabeth Evans says a final conclusion is at least several months away. But she says it’s very unlikely that the DNR will find adverse health effects from the region’s drinking water.