UPDATE: The meeting Tuesday begins at 10 a.m. The time was stated incorrectly in the original version of this story.
The microbiologist who has been part of the most extensive study of contamination in Kewaunee County wells plans to present his latest conclusions to the county’s Land & Water Conservation Committee on Tuesday morning (April 9).
Dr. Mark Borchardt is a Marshfield-based microbiologist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. His presentation was originally set for the committee’s January meeting, but it was postponed after he was furloughed during a government shutdown.
He has been compiling data from the random sampling of 621 private wells in the county. Research released in 2017 indicated about 208 of those wells showed contamination from bacteria or high nitrate levels, and a review of the pathogens in the contaminated wells showed levels well above the state average. There was evidence of both bovine and human waste in the affected wells.
But in an interview with Wisconsin Public Radio in late February, Borchardt said the analysis shows nitrate and coliform in the water mostly comes from agriculture and not human waste.
“Where we see the strong relationships, the strong linkages, those are with agricultural factors. So that would suggest that agriculture is primarily responsible for those two contaminants,” WPR quoted him as saying.
The committee is scheduled to meet at 10 a.m. Tuesday in the 4-H Room of the Kewaunee County Fairgrounds Exhibition Building, 625 Third St., Luxemburg.