Dunn Co. well found to have high levels of uranium

Published: Dec. 2, 2019 at 9:54 PM CST
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In November, a public well in Dunn County was found to be exceeding the contaminant level for uranium, causing health officials to take a closer look at one local village's water system.

A public well at 300 Main Street in the village of Ridgeland was one of only two public wells in the state of Wisconsin to test for a high level of uranium.

Now health officials are asking the community to test their private wells.

Around 60 percent of community members in Dunn County get their drinking water from private wells, including many people in the small village.

Uranium is a naturally occurring element found in nearly all rocks, soils, and air.

Health officials believe this case of the higher level of uranium was the cause of a potential fracture deep in the bedrock.

Monday night, a community forum was held to address questions and concern community members might have.

Health officials want to determine whether this is an isolated incident or a larger area of concern in the village.

"Luckily, even at high levels there's not a lot of outward symptoms of heavy metal poisoning with Uranium. But we want to make sure that people know their risk, at that 30 part per billion we have long-term risks for kidney issues," says Dunn County Health Department Director KT Gallagher. "And it's better to know and then mitigate that risk, or then take steps to take care of that risk at the water source or the well source."

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Department of Public Health are providing free testing for some private wells in Ridgeland.

Health officials emphasize it's still safe to drink water in the village at this moment, as they continue to go through their investigation.

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