Protecting Wisconsin's Groundwater Through Comprehensive Planning
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  Milwaukee County
  This report provides the most current information and data found, as of May 2007, unless otherwise noted.
  Milwaukee County groundwater findings reports Milwaukee County full report Switch to Milwaukee 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. Milwaukee County has 17 municipal water systems.  Table showing water systems in Milwaukee County

GROUNDWATER PROTECTION POLICIES   Table showing water systems in Milwaukee County

  • 0 of 17 municipal water systems in Milwaukee County have a wellhead protection plan.
  • 0 of 17 municipal water systems in Milwaukee County have a wellhead protection ordinance.
  • Milwaukee County has not adopted an animal waste management ordinance.


  • Over $213 million has been spent on petroleum cleanup in Milwaukee County from leaking underground storage tanks, which equates to $233 per county resident.
  • No municipal water systems in Milwaukee County have spent money to reduce nitrate levels.

GROUNDWATER USE    Water use figure

  • From 1979 to 2005, total water use in Milwaukee County has decreased from about 223 million gallons per day to about 150 million gallons per day.*
  • The decrease in total water use is due primarily to decreases in public use and losses, industrial and commercial uses.
  • The proportion of county water use supplied by groundwater has decreased from about 6% to 3.2% during the period 1979 to 2000 and increased to about 5% 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 Milwaukee County can be seen in the FULL REPORT or accessed through the map link above.


  • 100% of 30 private well samples collected in Milwaukee County from 1990-2006 met the health-based drinking water limit for nitrate-nitrogen.   Nitrate map
  • A 2002 study estimated that 21% of private drinking water wells in the region of Wisconsin that includes Milwaukee 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 Milwaukee County.
  • 100% of 4 private well samples collected in Milwaukee County met the health standard for arsenic.


  • There are 1,692 open-status sites in Milwaukee County that have contaminated groundwater and/or soil. These sites include 464 Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) sites, 611 Environmental Repair (ERP) sites 558 spill sites and 59 Voluntary Party Liability Exemption (VPLE) sites.  BRRTS map
  • There are no concentrated animal feeding operations in Milwaukee County.
  • There are 2 licensed landfills in Milwaukee County.
  • There is 1 Superfund site in Milwaukee County.

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Milwaukee County full report Milwaukee 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