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

GROUNDWATER PROTECTION POLICIES   Table showing water systems in Rusk County

  • 4 of 7 municipal water systems in Rusk County have a wellhead protection plan: Glen Flora, Hawkins, Ladysmith and Tony Water System.
  • 1 of 7 municipal water systems in Rusk County has a wellhead protection ordinance: Glen Flora.
  • Rusk County has adopted an animal waste management ordinance.


  • Over $7 million has been spent on petroleum cleanup in Rusk County from leaking underground storage tanks, which equates to $485 per county resident.
  • No municipal water systems in Rusk County have spent money to reduce nitrate levels.

GROUNDWATER USE  Water use figure

  • From 1979 to 2005, total water use in Rusk County has decreased slightly from about 3.6 million gallons per day to about 3.1 million gallons per day through 2000 and back to 3.6 million gallons per day in 2005.*
  • The decrease in total water use over this period is due to decreases in all use categories and the increase is due to increases in irrigation use.
  • The proportion of county water use supplied by groundwater has varied greatly from about 52% to almost 55% 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 Rusk County can be seen in the FULL REPORT or accessed through the map link above.


  • 94% of 124 private well samples collected in Rusk County from 1990-2006 met the health-based drinking water limit for nitrate-nitrogen.   Nitrate map
  • A 2002 study estimated that 25% of private drinking water wells in the region of Wisconsin that includes Rusk 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 Rusk County.
  • 100% of 10 private well samples collected in Rusk County met the health standard for arsenic.


  • There are 34 open-status sites in Rusk County that have contaminated groundwater and/or soil. These sites include 22 Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) sites, 10 Environmental Repair (ERP) sites and 2 spill sites.   BRRTS map
  • There are no concentrated animal feeding operations in Rusk County.
  • There is 1 licensed landfill in Rusk County.
  • There are no Superfund sites in Rusk County.

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Rusk County full report Rusk 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