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DAWS well water-testing begins recruitment for spring sampling
Crawford, Richland and Vernon counties
Crawford, Vernon and Richland counties

CRAWFORD, VERNON AND RICHLAND COUNTIES - The Driftless Area Water Study (DAWS) will conduct their second round of well water testing in Crawford, Vernon and Richland counties on Monday, April 19. The three counties, each doing something slightly different, are moving ahead now with recruiting participants for the Spring 2021 event.

All three counties will offer well water testing participants the ‘Homeowners Test’ through the lab at UW-Stevens Point. The test costs $55, and will provide residents with information about coliform bacteria and nitrates, among other things. Crawford and Richland counties will pay 100 percent of the cost of the test, but Vernon County is asking participants to pay $25 of the total $55 cost.

If a well owner were to decide to test their well water independent of the DAWS study, they would be required to ship their sample priority or to drive the sample to the lab in Stevens Point. Through participation in DAWS, the well owner will be spared this considerable time and/or expense.

As with the DAWS Fall 2020 sampling event, participants will be offered a variety of drop-off locations where they can take their water samples throughout the three county area. For example, if a participant lives in Gays Mills but works in Richland Center, they would have the option to drop off their sample in either location – whichever is most convenient for them. More information will be forthcoming soon about the drop-off locations.

All well water-testing results are completely confidential, and will be shared by the lab at UW-Stevens Point only with the well owner. Non-specific, aggregated results will be shared with the DAWS multi-county coordinating committee.

A virtual education event to present the DAWS study non-specific results will be offered on June 8 at 6:30 p.m. Look for more details about how to participate in future issues of the newspaper. At the event, presenters from the UW-Stevens Point lab will discuss what the results mean in general, and options for individuals that had any concerning contaminant levels.  

Crawford County

The Crawford County Land Conservation Department sent out ‘recruitment’ letters last week to the folks randomly selected to participate in the Crawford County portion of the DAWS well water study. The letters, printed on blue paper, were sent to almost 400 county residents, with the hope of getting 100 participants (the first nine respondents from each township).  Instructions about how to reserve your spot, and when and how to pick up your sample bottle from the Land Conservation Department office in Prairie du Chien, will be made available in the letter or when you call to sign up.

For more information, contact the Crawford County Land Conservation Department at 608-326-0272.

Tainter Creek Watershed

NOTE: for Crawford County residents who own wells in the Tainter Creek Watershed (roughly, in Utica Township), and for Vernon County well owners in the Town of Franklin, there is another well testing option available through the Tainter Creek Watershed Council. The council is offering well testing on the same date as the DAWS study, but like Vernon County, is requiring participants to pay $25 of the total $55 cost. 

For well owners not randomly selected by Crawford County to participate in the DAWS study, or residents of Vernon County Town of Franklin, that own a well in the Tainter Creek Watershed, this is another option to have your well water tested. For more information, contact Sarah McDowell at the Vernon County Land Conservation Department at or 608-637-5480.

Richland County

The Richland County Land Conservation Department is again going to participate in the DAWS well water-testing study.  Letters will be sent out to 400 Richland County landowners looking to get 86 to complete the well-testing.  These letters will be mailed the week of March 1, and contain the details for those interested in participating.  You must be one of the landowners receiving the letter to participate.

For more information, contact the Richland County Land Conservation Department at 608-647-2100.

Vernon County

Vernon County is happy to announce that for a limited time you can get more than 50 percent off of a water sample. Participation is first come first serve and is very limited to 10 samples per township.

Only sign up if you are able to collect on April 19 and get the sample to one of the drop-off sites.

Next Steps if you are interested:

• Contact Vernon County Land & Water 608-637-5480 (Sarah) or

• Find out that you have been selected

• Pick up water sample bottle and instructions from our office in Viroqua and pay $25 share

• Be able to collect your sample on April 19 and bring it to one of the drop-off sites.