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Onalaska to test water pipes, after DNR warns of elevated copper levels



The tainted water crisis in Flint, Mich.,may be causing other cities to be careful about water quality.

The Wisconsin DNR found elevated levels of copper in tap water samples from Onalaska, so the city is preparing to study ways of avoiding corrosion inside the water pipes.

Onalaska Public Works director Jarrod Holter said the city is trying to get ahead of potential problems.

“We just tested lead and copper last summer,” Holter said. “We won’t be required to do it again for a couple years yet.

“But we’re trying to get, because this study will take us a year, we’re trying to be proactive before the next set of sampling that’ll take place.”

Holter added that the city only has a small number of copper or lead pipes dating before 1950.

“We have a little bit but not much so the majority of the system is less than 70 years old, and I would say 80 percent of the system is less than 50 years old,” Holter said.

Onalaska gets its tap water from 150-feet-deep underground wells, which are fed by the Mississippi River. In Flint, the lead pipes were found to be corroded by untreated water from a local river.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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