The Wisconsin Senate on Tuesday passed a bill to allow families with contaminated wells or failing wastewater treatment systems to receive low-interest or interest-free loans from their county to rebuild or replace their wells or treatment systems.

The measure (Assembly Bill 226) introduced by state Rep. Joel Kitchens, R-Sturgeon Bay, passed the Assembly on June 21 and now heads to Gov. Scott Walker for his signature.

“Every citizen deserves to have access to clean water, free from harmful bacteria and chemicals,” Kitchens said in a statement. “This is another important step forward in addressing the water contamination issue in Wisconsin’s rural areas so that all families have access to clean water.”

Kitchens thanked state Sen. Rob Cowles, R-Green Bay, the bill’s Senate author, and the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters, rural Land and Water Conservation Departments and local governments that supported the measure.

The bill increases the limit on the amount of a grant awarded under the state’s well compensation grant program, which has in the past covered 75 percent of project costs up to $12,000, or $9,000. The new limit is 75 percent of $16,000, or a maximum $12,000.