Contaminated drinking water was found to cause hundreds of illnesses and a number of deaths around the nation, including in Wisconsin. A recent CDC report shows that these incidents occurred in 2013 and 2014 caused by dangerous contaminates including chemicals, toxins and infectious pathogens in drinking water. Outbreaks ended in 1,006 cases of illness, over 100 hospitalizations and 13 deaths around the country.
Unfortunately, unsafe water isn’t always obvious. It can appear clean and clear, while containing dangerous contamination. Legionella bacteria was found to be the cause of 88 percent of the hospitalizations and all of the deaths. The bacteria causes legionellosis, a respiratory sickness. Dangerous pathogens found in manure were another major cause sickness. Pathogens cause gastrointestinal illness, which can be deadly for people with weakened immune systems. Contaminated drinking water can induce other health issues such as neurological disorders, cancer and infertility.
Wisconsin residents are affected by unsafe water
A number of people have become ill over the past few years in Wisconsin due to manure from local farms that made its way into well water. In Kewaunee County drinking water became so badly contaminated last year that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provided emergency water for residents.
Quite a few private wells have been found to be exposed to dangerous pathogens. Additionally, a report in 2014 shows that 3.7 percent of Wisconsin’s public water systems contained coliform bacteria, an indicator of dangerous bacteria, parasites and viruses. Most of those systems serve public spaces such as churches, campgrounds, motels and restaurants.
Laws and regulations provide protections
The Safe Drinking Water Act dictates that every state must provide safe drinking water for residents. The DNR also regulates groundwater, imposing restrictions on farmers and manure spreaders. However, some government entities and local businesses do not adhere to the law. Breakouts continue to occur due to irresponsible farming practices, flooding, improperly maintained sewer systems and other issues.
Weak government oversight and irresponsible business practices can result in serious illness and even death for public and private water consumers. Hospital visits, testing and medicine can become expensive for ill victims and their families. Not only must families face financial harm, but stress and sometimes loss. However, negligent entities can be held accountable through legal measures. Contact an attorney if you or a loved one has suffered due to contaminated drinking water. It is possible to pursue compensation from negligent parties.