The Kewaunee County Land & Water Conservation Committee has gone on record in support of a bill to provide financial relief to private well owners who are experiencing elevated nitrate levels.
The vote Tuesday (May 14) sends the resolution to the full County Board to consider at its monthly meeting, scheduled for 6 p.m. May 21 at the County Administration Center, 810 Lincoln St., Kewaunee.
Senate Bill 137, co-sponsored by state Sen. Robert Cowles, R-Green Bay, and state Rep. Joel Kitchens, R-Sturgeon Bay, would require the state Department of Health Services to award grants of up to $2,500 to eligible private well owners to cover remediation costs for nitrate levels exceeding 10 parts per million.
Ten parts per million is the maximum contaminant level allowed for nitrates under the U.S. Safe Drinking Water Act.
Counties could receive up to $500,000 to reimburse the actual costs of administering the testing and reporting requirements.
Department Head Davina Bonness said Land & Water Conservation would work with the county Public Health Department to administer the grants, much like an existing program.
“This is kind of the same thing that they do, but we’ve never done nitrates before, it’s always been for bacteria,” Bonness said. “So this is opening that door to allow landowners who have more than 10 parts per million.”
Eligible costs include well testing, installation of an appropriate filtration system, replacement of the well or replacement of the water supply, according to analysis of the bill by the Legislative Reference Bureau.