KEWAUNEE, Wis. (AP) — Preliminary results of a study on an east Wisconsin county’s groundwater indicate some wells in the area contain fecal microbes that can make people sick.
Wisconsin Public Radio reports that the two-year-long study found that about 380 Kewaunee County residents are at risk of contracting a stomach parasite called cryptosporidiosis, which can cause diarrhea.
U.S. Department of Agriculture microbiologist Mark Borchardt and a team from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh monitored more than 620 wells. Almost 5,000 households in the county depend on private wells.
The study found that traces of fecal matter in the wells, which may be from cows, likely entered groundwater through shallow topsoil. Borchardt says the most severe contamination occurs after heavy rain or a fast snow melt.
There’s no timeline for when the USDA will finalize the study’s findings.