Study Says Drinking Water Viruses Causing Sickness

6/3/12 – A new study shows that Wisconsinites are getting sick from viruses found in their drinking water – and the federal E-P-A has already taken notice. U-S-D-A micro-biologists Mark Borchardt and Susan Spencer of Marshfield surveyed drinking water in 14 Wisconsin communities – and about a quarter of the water samples they tested were positive for human viruses. They said the novo-virus was the most common illness to be discovered. And Jill Jonas of the state D-N-R says the study has already prompted the federal E-P-A to start a nationwide water sampling program that could result in new national regulations for treating and disinfecting water. The study results were posted online by the Environmental Health Perspectives journal. In February, the Wisconsin State Journal of Madison found that at least 60 drinking water supplies in the state do not remove contaminants that cause viruses, despite the health risks that have been documented. Borchardt’s previous studies caused state lawmakers and former Governor Jim Doyle to approve a law in the 2009 session that required all Wisconsin communities to disinfect their drinking water. But after the Republicans took control last year, freshman Representative Erik Severson of Star Prairie convinced his colleagues and Governor Scott Walker to repeal the disinfecting mandate. He said it put unnecessary burdens on communities, and the state already has strong water standards.