Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in the Drinking Water and Groundwater Program

Internship location: Green Bay, Wisconsin
Organization type: State government
Policy areas: Environmental Regulation and Public Health

I worked as a Water Supply Specialist for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in the Drinking Water and Groundwater Program. My primary role was to conduct Annual Site Visits (ASVs) on transient non-community public water systems across northeastern Wisconsin. These systems are essentially in businesses that serve water to the public in the forms of food preparation, drinking fountains, handwashing, or have other opportunities for human consumption. These businesses include hotels, restaurants, bars, campgrounds, churches, factories, and more. During these ASVs, I applied Wisconsin Administrative Code section NR 809.31(1)(d) to verify that the well and distribution system did not have potential contamination sources that could lead to unsafe coliform bacteria and nitrate levels in the groundwater system. I worked with system owners to educate them on the inspection’s importance and to explain any sanitary defects and the required corrective actions. I also helped out with other administrative projects and worked to find and correct discrepancies in the online database for the systems. By updating this information, it will help other interns and full-time employees more easily contact, locate, and track business performance in future applications. Through this internship, I expanded my skills in customer service, problem-solving, and effective communication of new ideas through various forms. I also applied much of the knowledge I learned in my La Follette courses when predicting public responses to new policies, ensuring feasibility, and learning about evidence-based policymaking in other DNR programs. Overall, it was a very rewarding internship experience!