WAUSAU - Wausau Water Works recently found elevated levels of lead in drinking water.
Now they're asking homeowners to be cautious when using that water.
The city stopped installing lead service lines in 1965.
They stopped using lead solder in 1986.
Today most pipes are made of either copper or plastic.
Any home with lead service lines could have lead in its water.
Lead creeps into the water when it sits in lead pipes for more than six hours.
"This does become a health problem. People who are most susceptible to it are infants, young children, and pregnant women. Along with people who have had health issues such as high blood pressure or kidney disease. They are the ones who are more susceptible to having issues with the lead in the water," explained Deb Geier, Utility Resources Manager.
The easiest way to help the problem is to let water run from your faucet.
That usually takes about 15 to 30 seconds.
"Any time the water has sat for six hours or longer, for instance when you come home from work or school, or in the morning when you first get up, is to run the water. Let the system flush through," said Geier. "Running the water is the easy fix. As long as you're getting the fresh water from the pipes and mains you should be okay. The water that we have tested, the raw water that comes into our treatment plant does not have any lead in it. So what's in the mains typically doesn't sit there that long because it feeds a lot of people."
In addition to running your water, they say it's important to always run cool water out of your pipes.
"What people often do when they're cooking is to take the hot water out of the faucet, when they want, for instance, to heat up some pasta or veggies or something like that. That's the no-no. Don't be using hot water for that. Hot water is more apt to draw the lead out of the pipes than cool water is," said Geier.
Having pipes replaced would be the ultimate way to make sure lead doesn't get into the water.
RHINELANDER - The first day of spring on Tuesday greeted us with snow and cold, but a handful of people across Rhinelander did their best to deliver some warm feelings.
Hometown Chiropractic employees stood outside the Rhinelander District Library starting at 12:30 p.m. with motivational signs. This is the third year the chiropractic office decided to do "Sunshine on the Street."
It was a simple half-hour commitment to spread joy.
ANTIGO - A sandbag can serve as a cheap, easy tool to stop floodwater from reaching homes, businesses, and other buildings. In Antigo, city workers have seen their fair share of sandbags lately. The city made a thousand of them. It's something workers do every year, but hope to never use them.
"Every melting season," said Antigo Public Works Project Manager Charlie Brinkmeier. "We never know, the weather changes day to day."
Since the flooding that took place in 2004, the city of Antigo has been doing its best to stay prepared.
"Everybody in this community has institutional memory from the 2004 event," said Antigo Administrative Services Director Mark Desotell. "It was quite an impact on the city. It impacted a lot of businesses."
RHINELANDER - Oneida County Supervisor Bob Mott felt sadness as he toured the Doctors Foster and Smith property in Rhinelander on Feb. 22. Mott knew he couldn't save the nearly 300 jobs that are disappearing after Petco announced in January it was closing most of the facility.
However, Mott is now pushing the county to look at a new option for the buildings and land that could generate money and create jobs.
At Tuesday's county board meeting, Mott submitted a resolution that would form a committee to look at Oneida County buying the property from Petco.
RHINELANDER - By landing in New Zealand last week, Rhinelander's Darlene Machtan and her husband checked off another continent in their world travels. They landed and were confronted by huge national news.
"It's all people are talking about," Machtan said in a FaceTime interview.
Last Friday in Christchurch, New Zealand, a white supremacist started shooting at two mosques in a terrorist attack, killing 50 people.
Most years, the entire country has fewer than ten homicides with guns.
MERRILL - Dozens of people in Merrill considered who is representing them in city government. A group is pushing to recall five of the city's eight representatives and held a rally Tuesday night to make their case to their fellow taxpayers.
"It's now or never," said LaDonna Fermanich, one of the rally organizers.
The Recall Rally was held at Les and Jim's Lincoln Lanes less than a mile away from Merrill City Hall, where a common council meeting was taking place at the same time.
"This is nothing personal for the alderman. We believe you're all of good character," said Steve Sabatke, addressing the council. Sabatke plans to run for Merrill's 8th district seat.
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