Protecting Wisconsin's Groundwater Through Comprehensive Planning
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  Oconto County
  This report provides the most current information and data found, as of May 2007, unless otherwise noted.
  Oconto County groundwater findings reports Oconto County full report Switch to Oconto 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. Oconto County has 5 municipal water systems.  Table showing water systems in Oconto County

GROUNDWATER PROTECTION POLICIES   Table showing water systems in Oconto County

  • 1 of 5 municipal water systems in Oconto County has a wellhead protection plan: Suring.
  • 1 of 5 municipal water systems in Oconto County has a wellhead protection ordinance: Suring.
  • 26% of county residents get drinking water from five municipal water utilities.
  • 74% of county residents get drinking water from private wells.
  • Oconto County has adopted an animal waste management ordinance.


  • Over $12 million has been spent on petroleum cleanup in Oconto County from leaking underground storage tanks, which equates to $332 per county resident.
  • No municipal water systems in Oconto County have spent money to reduce nitrate levels.

GROUNDWATER USE    Water use figure

  • From 1979 to 2005, total water use in Oconto County has fluctuated from 5.8 million gallons per day to about 14.0 million gallons per day.*
  • The fluctuation in total water use over this period is due primarily to fluctuations in industrial use. Industrial use increased substantially from 1979 to 1990 but declined until 2000 and increased slightly by 2005.
  • The proportion of county water use supplied by groundwater has fluctuated from about 28% to 79% during the period 1979 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. D1



  • Wisconsin has abundant quantities of high-quality groundwater, but once groundwater is contaminated, it's very expensive and often not technically possible to clean.
  • Susceptibility varies throughout Oconto County with the majority of highly susceptible groundwater areas in the northwest part of the county.
  • An evaluation of the susceptibility of groundwater to contamination in Oconto County can be seen in the FULL REPORT or accessed through the map link above.


  • 91% of 941 private well samples collected in Oconto County from 1990-2006 met the health-based drinking water limit for nitrate-nitrogen.   Nitrate map
  • A 2002 study estimated that 18% of private drinking water wells in the region of Wisconsin that includes Oconto 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 Oconto County.
  • 92% of 203 of private well samples collected in Oconto County met the health standard for arsenic.


  • There are 40 open-status sites with contaminated groundwater and/or soil in Oconto County. These sites are composed of 23 Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) sites and 17 Environmental Repair (ERP) sites.   BRRTS map
  • There are 3 concentrated animal feeding operations in Oconto County.
  • There are no licensed landfills in Oconto County.
  • There are no Superfund sites in Oconto County.

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Oconto County full report Oconto 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