Sunday , 19 November 2017

August 16, 2017 E-News

DNR INVESTIGATING MANURE SPILL IN NORTHEASTERN WISCONSIN– State environmental officials are investigating a manure spill in northeastern Wisconsin into a Lake Michigan tributary. The spill was reported Monday evening and investigators with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources are still looking into the incident, which has since been contained. But the agency doesn’t know how much manure was released. The farm where the spill is believed to have originated is Hochkammer Dairy, located roughly 6 miles south of the city of Manitowoc. The spill went into Pine Creek, which runs directly into nearby Lake Michigan. Roxanne Chronert is a supervisor for the DNR’s Northeastern Region Remediation and Redevelopment program, which involves spill clean ups. She said the agency begins such investigations by determining the source of the spill then finding where the clean water is above it.

WISCONSIN DNR MAKES CHANGES TO STATE WATER POLLUTION CODE– The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board has approved 10 more changes to the state water pollution code in response to a 2011 letter from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. One of the items pertains to “backsliding.” The EPA letter stated 75 deficiencies in state Department of Natural Resource’s handling of federal water pollution regulations. The environmental groups later added legal pressure on the state. The DNR, in its documents, characterizes the 75 items as “potential inconsistencies between state and federal regulations that govern the Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (WPDES) program.”  The DNR has made dozens of changes, including the 10 approved by the board Wednesday.

‘SUCK THE MUCK’ TO REMOVE ALGAE-MAKING PHOSPHORUS FROM DANE COUNTY STREAMS– How to reduce algae-making phosphorous in Dane County lakes? Suck the muck. Muck, the ooze at the bottom of streams, is the chief culprit in the phosphorous/algae problem, holding hundreds of thousands of pounds of phosphorus for decades, slowly and steadily getting released to exacerbate the pollution mucking up the lakes. Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced on Monday the Suck the Muck project has started, with Dorn Creek the first stream to get the Hoover treatment. “The preliminary site work and design and engineering work is being done in and along the stream, prior to the sediment being vacuumed out,” Parisi said. Suck the Muck is a $12 million initiative to clean 33 miles of streams that feed into the lakes, bringing the phosphorous along with the water. The goal is to take 870,000 pounds of phosphorus out of the muck.

KEWAUNEE COUNTY DAIRY CAFO GETS APPROVAL TO EXPAND MORE THAN TWICE IN SIZE– A Kewaunee County dairy farm has been given the go-ahead from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to more than double the size of its operation. But it’s situated in an area with shallow topsoil, where residents are already dealing with contaminated wells. The 1,600-head El Na Dairy in Lincoln is located in the karst geology district, which is characterized by shallow topsoil and porous rock. Many private wells in the area have been rendered useless for human consumption due to nitrates and bacteria. Some of the contamination is from humans but the vast majority by animal waste. El Na is classified as a concentrated animal feeding operation, or CAFO. CAFOs are defined not by the head of cattle or other animals on site, but by the amount of manure they produce.

WHEEL TAX’ EXPECTED TO ROLL $152,000 INTO PORTAGE CITY BUDGET IN FIRST YEAR– A $20 vehicle registration tax in the city of Portage is expected to bring in about $152,000 in its first year — more than $24,000 above what had been projected. And the money is being spent, for things such as pavement repair, filling road cracks, fixing street signs and maintaining traffic signals. However, City Administrator Shawn Murphy reminded the city’s Finance and Administration Committee on Monday that there’s legislation afoot which, if enacted, would require that the city’s voters decide whether the “wheel tax” continues. On July 27, the Portage Common Council went on record in opposition to Assembly Bill 361, which would require all towns, villages, cities and counties to hold a referendum before enacting a wheel tax — even if a government entity has had a wheel tax for years. Kenosha, for example, has had a wheel tax since 1986.

COUNTY BOARD IN MICHIGAN’S UP TAKES SYMBOLIC STANCE AGAINST MINING NEAR MENOMINEE RIVER– The Menominee County Board in Michigan has approved a largely symbolic resolution against a proposed mine near the border with northern Wisconsin. The county in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula could be home to a proposed open pit sulfide mine run by Aquila Resources. It would be near the shores of the river that forms the border between the two states and ultimately empties into Lake Michigan. The board signed off on the resolution on a 5-4 vote Tuesday night. County Board Chair Charlie Meintz voted against the resolution. He said it could give people the impression that the board has the power to stop the mine, which it doesn’t. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has ultimate authority on mining.  Aquila Resources has secured three of four permits needed to proceed, including those for mining, air quality and pollution discharges. The remaining permit involves wetlands.

16TH ANNUAL WRWA OUTDOOR EXPO– Just one week away from this educational and fun-filled event. Classroom training, product demonstrations, attendee activities, heavy equipment displays, Raffle prizes and lunch & refreshments provided. It also includes our Utility Truck competition, “Buy, Sell and Swap” area where you can display items for sale to the over 700 attendees of the event, and the “Tools of the Trade” area where you can display items, tools and equipment you’ve designed yourself to make your job easier. For additional information on this event or to register, go to

QUOTE–  “Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.”-  Ronald Reagan

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