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DNR: Metal found in rural drinking water not as dangerous as first thought

Wisconsin DNR logo (properly sized)
Wisconsin DNR logo (properly sized)

MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - A metal that’s found in rural drinking water in southeast Wisconsin is not as dangerous as originally thought.

That’s according to the state DNR, which is relaxing its health advisory level for the metal molybdenum.

As of Wednesday, limits for the metal are being raised from 40-micrograms per liter of groundwater to 90-micrograms.

The DNR’s Chuck Warzecha says people can drink water for their entire lives with 90-micrograms, and not feel any negative health effects. Warzecha says the new limit will also protect the most sensitive people – including the young, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems.

Tests within the last year turned up relatively high levels of the molybdenum in private wells in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Kenosha counties. Hundreds of well owners were told they might have to install expensive water treatment systems, and many will no longer need to do so.

However, 211 of 405 wells tested still have molybdenum levels above the new standard. They’ll be told to install a treatment system, get water from a safer source, or used bottled water for drinking.