Mapping project aims to better understand groundwater quality in western Wisconsin

Originally Posted on April 25, 2016

Tracking toxinsContact Jay Zambito,

A two-year geologic mapping project slated to begin in May will pinpoint the characteristics and location of rocks throughout Trempealeau County with the goal of predicting groundwater quality issues.

“Wells in part of western Wisconsin draw water from aquifer rock units with naturally occurring metals that could be potential health hazards if they end up in the water,” said Jay Zambito of the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey and project lead. “As we map the distribution and test the composition of these rocks, we will get a better understanding of where these metals are present, and how to avoid them.”

The project goes hand-in-hand with a regional study, also headed by Zambito, looking at naturally occurring metals in groundwater aquifers across the western part of the state.

Geologic maps have many uses—finding and characterizing natural resources, identifying natural hazards, and locating and protecting groundwater supplies, noted Zambito.

Eventually, the resulting map and the scientific data produced will be used to make decisions about aggregate and industrial sand resources, future groundwater well locations, and how to improve groundwater quality in western and central Wisconsin.

To learn more about this project, visit