Western Wisconsin county finds contaminated private wells

Tap water fills a glass on February 26, 2014 in the French southern city of Marseille. AFP PHOTO/ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT / AFP PHOTO / ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT (Photo credit should read ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP/Getty Images)

LA CROSSE — Health officials in a west-central Wisconsin county are finding increased levels of nitrates in private wells.

Wisconsin Public Radio  reports the La Crosse County Health Department told 2,000 households last month their private wells may be contaminated.

More than 450 wells have since been tested for nitrates, and 29 percent show levels over the permissible 10 parts per million.

Carol Drury is the environmental health and lab manager at the health department. She says most of the 130 wells that tested positive were between 10 and 14 parts per million, but some were over 20 parts per million.

County board member Monica Kruse says the county began worrying about possible contamination after a state audit last year found issues with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ regulation of a concentrated animal feeding operation in the area.