Protecting Wisconsin's Groundwater Through Comprehensive Planning
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  Richland County
  This report provides the most current information and data found, as of May 2007, unless otherwise noted.
  Richland County groundwater findings reports Richland County full report Switch to Richland 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. Richland County has 6 municipal water systems.  Table showing water systems in Richland County

GROUNDWATER PROTECTION POLICIES   Table showing water systems in Richland County

  • 1 of 6 municipal water systems in Richland County has a wellhead protection plan: Richland Center.
  • 1 of 6 municipal water systems in Richland County has a wellhead protection ordinance: Richland Center.
  • Richland County has adopted an animal waste management ordinance.


  • Over $7 million has been spent on petroleum cleanup in Richland County from leaking underground storage tanks, which equates to $435 per county resident.
  • No municipal water systems in Richland County have spent money to reduce nitrate levels.

GROUNDWATER USE  Water use figure

  • From 1979 to 2005, total water use in Richland County has decreased from about 3.3 million gallons per day to about 2.8 million gallons per day through 2000 and increased to 5.5 million gallons per day in 2005.*
  • The decrease in total water use over this period to 2000 is due primarily to decreases in irrigation. The abrupt increase in 2005 is also due to irrigation use. A steady increase in industrial use has been observed over this period.
  • The proportion of county water use supplied by groundwater has been consistently greater than 97% during the period 1979 to 2000 and decreased to 81% 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 Richland County can be seen in the FULL REPORT or accessed through the map link above.


  • 84% of 183 private well samples collected in Richland County from 1990-2006 met the health-based drinking water limit for nitrate-nitrogen.   Nitrate map
  • A 2002 study estimated that 43% of private drinking water wells in the region of Wisconsin that includes Richland 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
  • 2,513 acres of land in Richland County are in atrazine prohibition areas. Map showing atrazine prohibition areas in Richland County
  • 100% of 1 private well sample collected in Richland County met the health standard for arsenic.


  • There are 27 open-status sites in Richland County that have contaminated groundwater and/or soil. These sites include19 Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) sites, 5 Environmental Repair (ERP) sites and 3 spill sites.  BRRTS map
  • There is 1 concentrated animal feeding operation in Richland County.
  • There are no licensed landfills in Richland County.
  • There are no Superfund sites in Richland County.

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Richland County full report Richland 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