…Wisconsin scientists found that viruses can get into deep wells and make people sick…
“We’ve repeatedly sampled a number of wells in Madison for viruses, and found them quite frequently,” said Ken Bradbury, hydrogeologist for the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey.
The viruses in the wells are the same ones that live in the human digestive tract, which means they’re infectious and could cause disease.
Mark Borchardt, a research microbiologist at the Agricultural Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, studied the rate of gastrointestinal illness related to groundwater in communities in central Wisconsin.
“We measured that a significant portion of illness in these communities came from their drinking water, from the groundwater,” Borchardt said.
If viruses can get into water in deep wells, things like pesticides, pharmaceutical compounds and other pollutants can too, Bradbury said.
“There’s been a growing realization of the connection between surface and groundwater,” Borchardt said. “This takes it a step further. We need to be thinking about sanitary practices on the surface because it does end up in the groundwater, even in deep wells.”