Protecting Wisconsin's Groundwater Through Comprehensive Planning
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  Pierce County
  This report provides the most current information and data found, as of May 2007, unless otherwise noted.
  Pierce County groundwater findings reports Pierce County full report Switch to Pierce 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. Pierce County has 7 municipal water systems.  Table showing water systems in Pierce County

GROUNDWATER PROTECTION POLICIES   Table showing water systems in Pierce County

  • 5 of 7 municipal water systems in Pierce County have a wellhead protection plan: Bay City, Elmwood, Maiden Rock, Prescott, and River Falls.
  • 4 of 7 municipal water systems in Pierce County have a wellhead protection ordinance: Bay City, Elmwood, Prescott, and River Falls.
  • Pierce County has adopted an animal waste management ordinance.


  • Over $5 million has been spent on petroleum cleanup in Pierce County from leaking underground storage tanks, which equates to $130 per county resident.
  • No municipal water systems in Pierce County have spent money to reduce nitrate levels.

GROUNDWATER USE    Water use figure

  • From 1979 to 2005, total water use in Pierce County has increased slightly from about 4.2 million gallons per day to about 4.7 million gallons per day.*
  • The increase in total water use over this period is due primarily to increases in irrigation and industrial uses.
  • The proportion of county water use supplied by groundwater has been consistently greater than 97% 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.



  • 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 Pierce County can be seen in the FULL REPORT or accessed through the map link above.


  • 85% of 379 private well samples collected in Pierce County from 1990-2006 met the health-based drinking water limit for nitrate-nitrogen.   Nitrate map
  • A 2002 study estimated that 52% of private drinking water wells in the region of Wisconsin that includes Pierce 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
  • 2,410 acres of land in Pierce County are in atrazine prohibition areas. Map showing atrazine prohibition areas in Pierce County
  • 90% of 10 private well samples collected in Pierce County met the health standard for arsenic.


  • There are 36 open-status sites in Pierce County that have contaminated groundwater and/or soil. These sites include 14 Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) sites, 15 Environmental Repair (ERP) sites and 7 spill sites.   BRRTS map
  • There are 2 concentrated animal feeding operations in Pierce County.
  • There are no licensed landfills in Pierce County.
  • There are no Superfund sites in Pierce County.

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Pierce County full report Pierce 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