Drinking water quality not a concern in La Crosse

An environmental database found seven cancer-causing contaminants in the drinking water of La Crosse and Onalaska.

However, both the city of La Crosse and the city of Onalaska said there is no health concern with either community’s tap water.

The data provided by the Environmental Working Group is accurate, but it shows contaminant levels that are too low to cause any health problems.

Despite growing concerns about quality drinking water, local city engineers in La Crosse and Onalaska say the tap water is better than ever.

“We have excellent water,” said Mark Johnson, La Crosse utilities manager.

City water experts say the contaminants found are below the government’s required levels.

“Our product is way more regulated and has more regulations than the bottled tap water that you drink and pay for,” said Jarrod Holter, Onalaska director of public works.

Johnson says the city is required to test for bacteria 60 times per month. He says technology increases the likelihood of finding contaminants.

“As those technologies get more get more and more precise, if you want to find something you are going to find it,” Johnson said.

Johnson said a person would have to drink a large amount of water to experience problems.

“A person would have to consume two liters of water per day for their lifetime at the maximum contaminant level to have a one in a million chance of seeing that health impact,” Johnson said.

According to the La Crosse County Environmental Health Profile, the county is below the state’s preferred level of arsenic and nitrate.

Local experts say most contaminants that are found in water are natural.

“They are a product of the geology that we are surrounded by,” Johnson said.

Community leaders say they continue to strive to make a common need as safe as possible

“In a perfect world we would all want everything to be zero,” Holter said.

The city of La Crosse and Onalaska want people to know, the next drink of water taken is a healthy one.

“I drink the water everyday and I feel safe about it,” Holter said.