Will climate change increase the presence of pathogens in drinking water?

As storms grow more severe and temperatures climb, contamination of groundwater by animal and human waste could be on the rise as well.

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Photo courtesy of Luther College
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Tap water in rural Kewaunee County showed signs of contamination with microbes similar to those found on a nearby farm field. Photo courtesy of Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation Department
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U.S. Department of Agriculture microbiologist Mark Borchardt talks to Kewaunee County residents about agricultural contaminants and drinking water safety. Photo courtesy of Coburn Dukehart / Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism
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Millions of households nationwide get their drinking water from private wells, for which there typically are no testing requirements. Map courtesy of USGS.
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Geology and human activity together create opportunities for pathogens to reach groundwater. Graphic courtesy of the Door County Soil and Water Conservation Department
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