Efforts continue to address water quality in Portage Co. - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Efforts continue to address water quality in Portage Co.

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STEVENS POINT Wis. (WAOW) -

One in four people can't drink their well water in Portage County, and local officials have been fighting for clean drinking water for years.

They continued the fight on Wednesday, addressing the issue head on with Senator Tammy Baldwin.

"When one in four people in Portage County can't drink their well water, we have a problem," State Rep. Katrina Shankland said.

It's causing so much of a problem that Sen. Baldwin is taking up the issue.

"One of the things I'm trying to work on at the federal level is being a partner," said Baldwin. "Regardless of whether we're talking about a big city, a small town or a totally rural area."

Several wells are filled with toxins, leaving people without drinking water.

"Really what we have is a public health crisis," Shankland said. "That's like the worst case scenario for someone."

It's clear something needs to change, but it isn't an easy fix.

"Most don't have the wherewithal in terms of funding to just go out there and just change out those lead laterals," Baldwin said.

"Here in Portage County, we've been talking about how to reduce nitrates in our water systems," Shankland added. "There's a lot of systems that haven't been remediated yet."

The issue was discussed at a table with elected officials who hope to improve the water quality in Portage County.

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