Drinking Water

A safe supply of water for drinking, cooking and bathing is a major factor when it comes to a person's health.   It is important to know where your drinking water comes from and how to assure that it is safe to use.

Public Water Systems

Public water systems are usually operated by a municipality.   These systems are tested on a regular basis by municipal workers and must comply with strict Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) standards.   If you have questions about your municipal water supply, call your local city or village hall.

Businesses and schools that serve water to the public are also regulated under the following DNR programs:

  • Transient, non-community water program: Small Businesses, Campgrounds, Restaurants, Taverns, Churches, Golf Courses, and Convenience Stores
  • Non-Transient, non-community water program: Schools and Large Businesses
  • Other than Municipal, Community: Subdivisions and Mobile Home Parks
Information about public water supply systems including water sample results are available to the public through the Wisconsin DNR website. Click here to search.

Private Water Systems

Private wells provide water for homes and businesses that are in the country, outside of city or village limits. Owners of private wells are responsible for ensuring that the water from the well is safe to drink.

You can test for many different contaminants in your well water.   Usually the only way to determine if your water has contaminants is to test for them.   It is recommended to test private wells for coliform bacteria annually and any time there is a change in the appearance, taste or smell.   Other common tests include nitrate, metals and flouride. For information about testing your private well, click here.

Labs that are certified by the Wisconsin DNR to test for bacteria, fluoride, nitrate, pesticides, metals, volatile organic chemicals and other contaminants can be found here.

Additional information on well water quality can be found at the Wisconsin DNR website: http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/DrinkingWater or at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website: http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/private/wells/.

Please call the Washington County Health Department at 262-365-5878 if you have questions about testing your private well.


Boil Water Advisory/Emergency Chlorination Guidelines

  • Fact Sheet for Private Residences
  • Fact Sheet for Public and Licensed Facilities