These “Information Pages” are to provide suggestions for some additional information on certain subjects referenced in First Weber’s Notice to Buyers & Sellers and in other materials. First Weber advises that all parties research issues that are material to them. The information on these pages is no substitute for your own independent research and does not necessarily apply to your specific transaction or situation. Of course, the information referenced here, or the sources of possible information cited here, do not cover all potential issues of interest to buyers and sellers of real estate. Nor can or do we guarantee that the information or sources are fully accurate or complete; but hopefully this may provide some assistance in your own research if the issues addressed are of interest or importance to you. All parties are advised to independently verify any information material to each of them in a real estate transaction and to directly contact the relevant authorities they may locate relevant to any given matter. This applies to both buyers and sellers who may have questions.
LEAD IN PIPES and SERVICE LINES
Lead can have serious health consequences. Lead used to be used in water pipes and in municipal mains and service lines. It has not been used for decades, but remains in some housing stock and in certain private and municipal water distribution systems throughout Wisconsin. Some communities had more lead pipes used than others and some communities have more information about this than others. To learn more about lead in drinking water and in pipes, mains, and service lines in a given community, you are advised to contact the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the local municipality. There are also many other sources of information online and otherwise available.
Some sources include:
- Drinking water and lead (Wisconsin DNR)
- Wisconsin launches effort to replace aging lead pipes to safeguard water (WisconsinWatch.org)
Below is a map showing general concentrations of lead piping and various Wisconsin counties. We recommend that you contact the DNR and the specific community officials with questions.
Below is a diagram showing, roughly, the typical lateral service line and the respective ownership, between private and public, in the distribution system. There may be certain grants available to be applied toward replacement of lead pipes and service lines, depending upon the community and the situation. Some communities have also replaced public and private service lines together, because there can be an increase in lead exposure if the lines are only partly replaced.
Source: Web Report, “Controlling Lead in Drinking Water,” Water Research Foundation/American Water Works Association, 2015.
Below are the websites of some communities or local utilities in areas that have posted information about lead in the area pipes and service lines. The list below is not exhaustive, or necessarily updated. We recommend that you check directly with each individual community you may be considering to see what information it may have or if they can direct you to for further information.
- Lake Mills
- Green Bay
- Village of Shorewood
EMERALD ASH BORER
The natural features in and around our properties, and in our landscaping, are important to all of us. Unfortunately, from time to time, there are threats to certain features, including pest and disease issues. First Weber recommends that if you are a home owner or buying a home that you research the condition of the natural environment in your community.
One threat that has spread over the past few years has been Emerald Ash Borer. There is a great deal of information online from private and public sources. For example, you may consider contacting the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and/or the Wisconsin Department of Trace & Consumer Protection, and you should also consider contacting local county and municipal officials in each area of interest to you. See, for example:
For individual counties and communities, it is recommended that you contact the specific municipalities you may be interested in, as well as the County UW-Extension office in each area.
CONCENTRATED ANIMAL FEEDING OPERATIONS
Wisconsin’s agriculture businesses contribute nearly $60 billion to our state economy. The size and structure of Wisconsin agriculture, both cropland and livestock, has changed enormously in the past few decades. In the past few decades Wisconsin, like all states in this area, has seen the development of larger, consolidated operations, particularly in livestock and dairy operations. This includes creation of many larger, concentrated operations known as “concentrated animal feeding operations” or CAFOs. CAFOs has been defined as those operations that have 1,000 animals or more, or certain smaller operations that may risk pollutant discharge into navigable waters or wells. Wisconsin agricultural operations are subject to governmental regulation and various permitting requirements. Primary responsibility for regulation and permitting of CAFOs in Wisconsin is handled by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR). These regulations address potential issues such as risk of pollutant discharge from manure and runoff. The water quality protection regulations and permits are intended to ensure farms use proper planning, nutrient management, and structures and systems construction to protect Wisconsin waters. Below is a map from the DNR website of WPDES (Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) permitted CAFO locations and a graph showing the types of operations and their growth since 1985. For more information, please contact the DNR and local governmental officials in any area that may be of interest to you. Buyers or sellers interested in learning more about such issues should consult the DNR and county officials in any specific area in which you may have interest.
WATER CONTAMINANTS AND WATER TREATMENT INFORMATION REFERENCES:
There are a number of water quality concerns that may arise with a given property, whether on private well system or municipal wells. There are also a number of courses of information regarding these issues. Below is reference to only a few of those informational sources, including the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS), the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). One seeking information would also wish to contact the specific municipality with any questions. There are also a great deal of other private and scientific sources.
With regard to water treatment, the DSPS has information about approved water treatment devices for various different contaminants one might encounter. Water treatment devices for various different kinds of water contaminants have been approved by the Safety and Building Division of the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS). You may contact the Department to obtain a list of manufacturers and their approved products, with identification of which contaminants they treat. The Department’s website may be searched by name of contaminant. https://verification.dsps.wi.gov/Industry-Service-Searches/PlumbingContaminants For example, if you are looking for water treatment devices approved for the disinfection of microbiologically unsafe water supplies, you may select the “D” tab for “disinfection.” If you are looking for a specific organic chemical, you may check under the specific name of the chemical (e.g. “B” tab for benzene) and also the organic chemicals listed under the “O” tab.
There is also a Plumbing Product Search database maintained by the Department, which contain approvals of plumbing, private onsite wastewater treatment systems, and pools products. Drinking water treatment device approval information is also available. https://dsps.wi.gov/pages/Programs/Plumbing/Default.aspx
There is also information available through the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), among others.
The above sources have a lot of information on drinking water, various contaminants, wells and water quality generally. You may contact them directly with any questions or updates if the above links do not direct you to the desired information. In addition to these sources for reference, in any situation of concern, you should also contact the local municipality and the local professionals with expertise in water quality and water treatment, and local contractors, with any questions.
The EPA has a lot of information about water quality, including federal regulations and resources and state-specific information. https://www.epa.gov/wqs-tech State-specific information: https://www.epa.gov/wqs-tech/state-specific-water-quality-standards-effective-under-clean-water-act-cwa The EPA also has information about drinking water quality regulations and specific types of contaminants and the standards related to each. https://www.epa.gov/dwstandardsregulations. See also https://www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water and https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2019-07/documents/ace3-drinking-water-report-section.pdf
Radon is a naturally occurring gas that is radioactive and can cause lung cancer. Radon can leak into your home and is common in Wisconsin. You cannot see or smell it, but you can test for it and install remediation devices to help protect yourself. It is estimated that 1 out of 10 homes in Wisconsin has high radon levels. Radon can be detected by testing. The State’s offer contracts are adding contingencies to allow testing for radon, or a provision is available in various addenda for potential offers. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed guidelines. High levels are indicated by an EPA average radon level of more than 4.0 picoCuries per liter (pCi/L), per EPA guidelines.
There is a lot of information about radon on the internet. Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services (DHS) has an information page at: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/radon/index.htm. That website provides a lot of information about radon, the incidence of radon, as well as providing information about remediation methods and links to contractors to test for and remediate radon in homes in Wisconsin. Among other materials accessible on the site is an information facts sheet from DHS at: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/publications/p01963.pdf. The EPA also offers helpful brochure: http://www.radonleaders.org/sites/default/files/HP_Radon_Guide_2018_FINAL_CRCPD%20E-18-2.pdf
There is also an interactive Map available through the DHS site. If the interactive map, or any of the other links, do not connect correctly, please go directly to the DHS or EPA sites.
View interactive map of radon test results to see where radon levels are the highest.
Some website links are provided. Although operable at the time of posting, please understand we are not responsible for the content or security of those sites or for the information they may contain. The links included here were believed operable when posted but may change over time. On all such issues, we recommend that you perform the search directly with the websites material to your inquiry and contact the authorities directly working in the area of interest to you. Hopefully this page will assist. For most of these subjects you may contact the local municipality and the State governmental authorities directly, such as the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Wisconsin Department of Health Services, and Environmental Protection Agency. They should be able to answer your questions or direct you further.