Protecting Wisconsin's Groundwater Through Comprehensive Planning
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  Dane County
  This report provides the most current information and data found, as of May 2007, unless otherwise noted.
  Dane County groundwater findings reports Dane County full report Switch to Dane 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. Dane County has 34 municipal water systems.  Table showing water systems in Dane County

GROUNDWATER PROTECTION POLICIES   Table showing water systems in Dane County

  • 16 of 34 municipal water systems in Dane County have a wellhead protection plan: Blue Mounds, Cottage Grove, Deerfield, Fitchburg, Madison, Marshall, Mazomanie, Morrisonville, Oregon, Stoughton, Sun Prairie, Token Creek, Town of Burke, Waunakee, Westport and Windsor.
  • 14 of 34 municipal water systems in Dane County have a wellhead protection ordinance: Blue Mounds, Cottage Grove, Deerfield, Fitchburg, Madison, Marshall, Mazominie, Oregon, Stoughton, Token Creek, Town of Burke, Waunakee, Westport and Windsor.
  • Dane County has adopted an animal waste management ordinance.


  • Over $120 million have been spent on petroleum cleanup in Dane County from leaking underground storage tanks, which equates to $359 per county resident.
  • 3 municipal water systems in Dane County have spent money to reduce nitrate levels.

GROUNDWATER USE    Water use figure

  • From 1979 to 2005, total water use in Dane County has fluctuated from about 53.0 million gallons per day to 70.2 million gallons per day.*
  • The fluctuation in total water use over this period is due to all categories of usage.
  • The proportion of county water use supplied by groundwater has been consistently above 97% from 1997 to 2005.*
  • 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 Dane County can be seen in the FULL REPORT or accessed through the map link above.


  • 79% of 2,624 private well samples collected in Dane County from 1990-2006 met the health-based drinking water limit for nitrate-nitrogen.   Nitrate map
  • A 2002 study estimated that 62% of private drinking water wells in the region of Wisconsin that includes Dane 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
  • 531,830 acres of land in Dane County are in atrazine prohibition areas. Map showing atrazine prohibition areas in Dane County
  • 100% of 34 private well samples collected in Dane County met the health standard for arsenic.


  • There are 262 open-status sites in Dane County that have contaminated groundwater and/or soil. These sites include 156 Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) sites, 99 Environmental Repair (ERP) sites, 4 spill sites, and 3 Voluntary Party Liability Exemptions (VPLE) sites.  BRRTS map
  • There are 7 concentrated animal feeding operations in Dane County.
  • There are 2 licensed landfills in Dane County.
  • There are 5 Superfund sites in Dane County.

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Dane County full report Dane 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