"20 Years After Fatal Outbreak, Milwaukee Leads on Water Testing"

"For the public officials who safeguard Milwaukee's water, Cryptosporidium changed everything."

"Two decades ago, the parasite passed through the city's Howard Avenue water treatment plant and reached city taps. The outbreak resulted in an estimated 400,000 cases of gastrointestinal illness and at least 69 deaths.

It was the largest waterborne outbreak recorded in U.S. history.

Since the outbreak, the city's water utility, which draws its supply from Lake Michigan, has invested $417 million in improvements to infrastructure, monitoring and treatment.

Beginning in 2004, Milwaukee Water Works launched an aggressive program to monitor for a new potential public health threat: the largely unregulated group of chemicals known as "emerging contaminants," including estrogen and testosterone, flame retardants, pesticides, explosives and pharmaceuticals."

Marion Ceraso reports for Wisconsin Watch May 22, 2013.