Wisconsin’s Poor Water Monitoring Efforts

An investigative report by the Izaak Walton League of America shows that Wisconsin residents have much to be concerned about when it comes to pollution in their local streams and rivers. The state received an overall grade of “C+” for its water quality monitoring efforts. Wisconsin does not test enough local river and stream sites to make reliable claims about the safety of these waterways statewide. In fact, the state has only 43 permanent testing stations for more than 73,000 miles of streams and rivers. Wisconsin does not conduct chemical and biological monitoring frequently enough, has uneven water quality standards, and relies on water quality data that is up to 10 years old – and reports it to U.S. EPA as if it were current. The most common pollutants found in Wisconsin’s streams and rivers include mercury, bacteria, PCBs (a probable carcinogen), toxins, nutrients, and sediment. Although Wisconsin’s overall grade is a C+, the state is recognized as one of a handful that lead the nation in partnering with volunteer stream monitors. For the full report on Wisconsin’s water quality monitoring performance, visit

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