Protecting Wisconsin's Groundwater Through Comprehensive Planning
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  Barron County
  This report provides the most current information and data found, as of May 2007, unless otherwise noted.
  Barron County groundwater findings reports Barron County full report Switch to Barron County full report


  • Wisconsin has nearly 11,500 public water systems which meet the daily water needs of about 4 million people. Public water systems that are owned by a community are called municipal water systems. Barron County has 9 municipal water systems.  Table showing water systems in Barron County

GROUNDWATER PROTECTION POLICIES   Table showing water systems in Barron County

  • 7 of 9 municipal water systems in Barron County have a wellhead protection plan: Almena, Barron, Cameron, Chetek, Cumberland, Rice Lake and Turtle Lake.
  • 2 of 9 municipal water systems in Barron County have a wellhead protection ordinance: Cameron and Chetek.
  • Barron County has not adopted an animal waste management ordinance.


  • Over $7 million has been spent on petroleum cleanup in Barron County from leaking underground storage tanks, which equates to $164 per county resident.
  • No municipal water systems in Barron County have spent money to reduce nitrate levels.

GROUNDWATER USE  Water use figure

  • From 1979 to 2005, total water use in Barron County has increased from just less than 9.6 million gallons per day to about 19.4 million gallons per day.
  • The increase in total water use over this period is due primarily to increases in irrigation and industrial use.  Commercial usage decreased by a half.
  • The proportion of county water use supplied by groundwater increased from 95% in 1979 to around 98% since 1985.
  • Water use in Wisconsin is generally estimated for the following categories:
    • Domestic
    • Livestock
    • Aquaculture
    • Irrigation
    • Industrial
    • Commercial
    • Public use and losses
    • Thermoelectric or mining*

* Thermoelectric and mining data are not considered in water-use tables or figures on this web site. Thermoelectric-power water use is the amount of water used in the process of generating thermoelectric power. The predominant use of water is as non-contact cooling water to condense the steam created to turn the turbines and generate electricity.



  • Wisconsin has abundant quantities of high-quality groundwater, but once groundwater is contaminated, it's very expensive and often not technically possible to clean.
  • An evaluation of the susceptibility of groundwater to contamination in Barron County can be seen in the FULL REPORT or accessed through the map link above.


  • 85% of 590 private well samples collected in Barron County from 1990-2006 met the health-based drinking water limit for nitrate-nitrogen.   Nitrate map
  • A 2002 study estimated that 25% of private drinking water wells in the region of Wisconsin that includes Barron County contained a detectable level of an herbicide or herbicide metabolite. Pesticides occur in groundwater more commonly in agricultural regions, but can occur anywhere pesticides are stored or applied.   Statewide pesticide map
  • There are no atrazine prohibition areas in Barron County.
  • 92% of 13 private well samples collected in Barron County met the health standard for arsenic.


  • There are 40 open-status sites in Barron County that have contaminated groundwater and/or soil. These sites include 16 Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) sites, 23 Environmental Repair (ERP) sites and 1 spill site.  BRRTS map
  • There are 5 concentrated animal feeding operations in Barron County.
  • There is 1 licensed landfill in Barron County.
  • There are no Superfund sites in Barron County.

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Barron County full report Barron County full report

For more information about this web site, its contributors, and the data contained herein, click here.

For assistance in comprehensive planning, please contact Lynn Markham, UW-Stevens Point.
For assistance on groundwater, please contact Charles Dunning, USGS.
Page contact: Webmaster, USGS
Page last updated: January 15, 2008