Research into how private wells in Kewaunee County are contaminated with fecal matter and other pollutants is closer to confirming a largely agricultural source.

Wisconsin Public Radio reported from the Midwest Manure Summit in Green Bay on Wednesday (Feb. 27) that:

New research by U.S. Department of Agriculture microbiologist Mark Borchardt 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,” he said in an interview with Wisconsin Public Radio.

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Borchardt was scheduled to make a report about his findings in January to the Kewaunee County Land & Water Conservation Committee, but the appearance was postponed because of the federal government shutdown – Borchardt told county officials he risked fines or even jail time if he were to perform job-related tasks while he was furloughed.

County Conservationist Davina Bonness told the committee in February that Borchardt would be able to present as soon as the federal government budget is passed. He is not currently on the agenda for the committee’s next meeting, which is scheduled for 8:15 a.m. March 12 at the Land & Water Conservation office at the Kewaunee County Fairgrounds, 625 Third St., Luxemburg.

One ongoing issue that is on the agenda is the pending draw down of the Forestville Millpond. A representative from Door County is scheduled to make a presentation explaining the project.

Photo from Wisconsin Public Radio/Courtesy Kewaunee County Land & Water Conservation Department.