Protecting Wisconsin's Groundwater Through Comprehensive Planning
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  Vernon County
  This report provides the most current information and data found, as of May 2007, unless otherwise noted.
  Vernon County groundwater findings reports Vernon County full report Switch to Vernon 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. Vernon County has 11 municipal water systems.  Table showing water systems in Vernon County

GROUNDWATER PROTECTION POLICIES   Table showing water systems in Vernon County

  • 5 of 11 municipal water systems in Vernon County have a wellhead protection plan: Coon Valley, Hillsboro, La Farge, Readstown and Westby.
  • 3 of 11 municipal water systems in Vernon County have a wellhead protection ordinance: Coon Valley, La Farge and Westby.
  • Vernon County has adopted an animal waste management ordinance.


  • Over $9 million has been spent on petroleum cleanup in Vernon County from leaking underground storage tanks, which equates to $343 per county resident.
  • No municipal water systems in Vernon County have spent money to reduce nitrate levels.

GROUNDWATER USE    Water use figure

  • From 1979 to 2005, total water use in Vernon County has increased from about 4.8 million gallons per day to about 8.1 million gallons per day through 2000 and decreased to 5.2 million gallons per day in 2005.*
  • The increase in total water use over this period to 2000 is due primarily to an increase in aquaculture use and also to the decrease after 2000.
  • The proportion of county water use supplied by groundwater has been consistently greater than about 97% during the period 1979 to 2005 with a decrease to 68% in 2000.*
  • 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 Vernon County can be seen in the FULL REPORT or accessed through the map link above.


  • 92% of 132 private well samples collected in Vernon 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 Vernon 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
  • 3,861 acres of land in Vernon County are in atrazine prohibition areas. Map showing atrazine prohibition areas in Vernon County
  • 100% of 3 private well samples collected in Vernon County met the health standard for arsenic.


  • There are 46 open-status sites in Vernon County that have contaminated groundwater and/or soil. These sites include 26 Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) sites, 14 Environmental Repair (ERP) sites and 6 spill sites.   BRRTS map
  • There are 2 concentrated animal feeding operations in Vernon County.
  • There is 1 licensed landfill in Vernon County.
  • There are no Superfund sites in Vernon County.

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Vernon County full report Vernon 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