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

GROUNDWATER PROTECTION POLICIES   Table showing water systems in Lincoln County

  • 2 of 3 municipal water systems in Lincoln County have a wellhead protection plan: Merrill and Tomahawk.
  • 1 of 3 municipal water systems in Lincoln County has a wellhead protection ordinance: Tomahawk.
  • Lincoln County has adopted an animal waste management ordinance.


  • Over $157 million has been spent on petroleum cleanup in Lincoln County from leaking underground storage tanks, which equates to $251 per county resident.
  • No municipal water systems in Lincoln County have spent money to reduce nitrate levels.

GROUNDWATER USE    Water use figure

  • From 1979 to 2005, total water use in Lincoln County has decreased from about 14.6 million gallons per day to 9.9 million gallons per day.*
  • Industrial water use is the greatest component of use in the county and the decrease in total water use over this period is due to a decrease in industrial use. During this period however, industrial use increased dramatically in 1985 before declining dramatically by 2000.
  • The proportion of county water use supplied by groundwater has been variable but increased from 23% to 43% during the period 1979 to 2000 and decreased to 26% 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 Lincoln County can be seen in the FULL REPORT or accessed through the map link above.


  • 96% of 155 private well samples collected in Lincoln County from 1990-2006 met the health-based drinking water limit for nitrate-nitrogen.   Nitrate map
  • A 2002 study estimated that 12% of private drinking water wells in the region of Wisconsin that includes Lincoln 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 Lincoln County.
  • 98% of 45 private well samples collected in Lincoln County met the health standard for arsenic.


  • There are 33 open-status sites in Lincoln County that have contaminated groundwater and/or soil. These sites include 18 Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) sites, 14 Environmental Repair (ERP) sites and 1 Voluntary Party Liability Exemption (VPLE) site.  BRRTS map
  • There are no concentrated animal feeding operations in Lincoln County.
  • There are 2 licensed landfills in Lincoln County.
  • There are no Superfund sites in Lincoln County.

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Lincoln County full report Lincoln 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 14, 2008