Protecting Wisconsin's Groundwater Through Comprehensive Planning
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  Douglas County
  This report provides the most current information and data found, as of May 2007, unless otherwise noted.
  Douglas County groundwater findings reports Douglas County full report Switch to Douglas 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. Douglas County has 3 municipal water systems.  Table showing water systems in Douglas County

GROUNDWATER PROTECTION POLICIES   Table showing water systems in Douglas County

  • 2 of 3 municipal water systems in Douglas County have a wellhead protection plan: Manitou Falls and Oliver.
  • 0 of 3 municipal water systems in Douglas County have a wellhead protection ordinance.
  • Douglas County has not adopted an animal waste management ordinance.


  • Over $21 million has been spent on petroleum cleanup in Douglas County from leaking underground storage tanks, which equates to $481 per county resident.
  • No municipal water systems in Douglas County have spent money to reduce nitrate levels.

GROUNDWATER USE   Water use figure

  • From 1979 to 2005, total water use in Douglas County has increased from about 5.7 million gallons per day to about 9.0 million gallons per day.*
  • The increase in total water use is primarily due to domestic and aquaculture, with a decrease in industrial commercial use.
  • The proportion of county water use supplied by surface water increased from 72% in 1979 to 88% in 1985 and declined to 13% in 1995 and increased to 15% in 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 Douglas County can be seen in the FULL REPORT or accessed through the map link above.


  • 100% of 63 private well samples collected in Douglas 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 Douglas 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 Douglas County.
  • 100% of 3 private well samples collected in Douglas County met the health standard for arsenic.


  • There are 148 open-status sites in Douglas County that have contaminated groundwater and/or soil. These sites include 74 Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) sites, 70 Environmental Repair (ERP) sites and 2 spill sites and 2 Voluntary Party Liability Exemption (VPLE) sites.   BRRTS map
  • There are no concentrated animal feeding operations in Douglas County.
  • There is 1 licensed landfill in Douglas County.
  • There are no Superfund sites in Douglas County.

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Douglas County full report Douglas 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: Anne Moser, USGS
Page last updated: September 30, 2007