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Driftless Area Water Study will move forward
Crawford, Vernon and Richland counties
Well Water quality

CRAWFORD, VERNON AND RICHLAND COUNTIES - The Driftless Area Water Study (DAWS), a study of drinking water quality in Crawford, Vernon and Richland counties, will go forward with an October testing date as planned. Funds approved for the testing remain available in all three counties even with the COVID-19 pandemic budget issues all three counties are experiencing.

Testing timeline

The timeline for the testing event will be as follows:

• October 14-21: sample bottle and instructions distribution (bottles available at each county’s Land Conservation Department offices)

• October 26: sample collection by residents and drop off bottles – 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. at all drop off locations; 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at county Land Conservation Department offices

• October 27: samples delivered to lab in Stevens Point

• Well owners with high e.Coli will be notified within 2-3 days by letter

• Well owners with high coliform bacteria or nitrate will be notified within one week by letter

• Overall results will be mailed directly to all well owners within 4-5 weeks

Testing participants

Richland and Crawford counties used a random selection process to identify participants, with the goal being nine per township. 

Crawford County has already identified participants, sent out letters, and locked in the list. They are currently making follow up calls to ensure participants are still on board with testing their wells.

DAWS_Richland County Recruitment Letter
THIS LETTER was sent out to selected well owners from the Richland County Land Conservation Department recently.

Richland County will be sending out letters to participants soon. 

Vernon County is signing up nine participants per township on a first-come-first-serve basis. They still need participants from the following townships: Clinton, Coon, Forest, Genoa, Greenwood, Hamburg, Harmony, Hillsboro, Jefferson, Kickapoo, Liberty, Stark, Union and Whitestown. To sign up, contact Sarah McDowell at Vernon County Land Conservation Department at (608) 637-5480, or

Drop off locations

An updated map of drop-off locations will be provided soon. Participants will have some flexibility about which location to use, based upon what is most convenient for them – for instance if one location is closer to your place of employment, you could select that one.

In preparation for taking your sample:

• Plan to go over instructions when picking up your bottle

• Written instruction will be included with bottles, and this will include a link to a YouTube video from the lab in Stevens Point

• You could attempt to research your well information in advance – your ‘Unique Well Identification Number’ (from the DNR website), and information about your well construction, especially the depth to which your well is cased.


Like ownership of the wells, specific well testing results will remain the property of the individual well owner.

To ensure this is the case, the counties have communicated to the lab at Stevens Point that they only want to receive high-level aggregate data, but not the individual results.

Well owners will receive their individual well testing results directly from the lab in Stevens Point.

Well owners will have the option, at their own discretion, to seek further assistance from the county by contacting their Public Health Department and/or their Land Conservation Department.