Sunday , 19 November 2017

August 23, 2017 E-News

BLUE-GREEN ALGAE CONDITIONS IMPROVE ON SOME CENTRAL WISCONSIN LAKES– There is less toxic blue-green algae this year on Lake Petenwell, the Castle Rock Flowage and some smaller central Wisconsin lakes.  Last year, homeowners on the recreational lakes described the algae bloom on Lake Petenwell as the worst in memory. Aerial photos taken July 30, 2016 showed the shoreline and boat docks surrounded with an iridescent green slime. Adams County Lake Specialist Reesa Evans said the conditions in 2016 posed a health hazard. “Last year on one of the inland lakes there was a family that got sick and a dog that died from ingesting blue-green algae,” Evans said. But this year is different, Evans said. “There’s been a lot fewer reports, and I’ve certainly seen a lot less,” she said. Evans said the lower temperatures and wetter conditions this summer may have been factors in improving water quality.

WOOD COUNTY PASSES RESOLUTION TO KEEP OIL COMPANY FROM SEIZING LAND– A central Wisconsin county is asking the state to make it harder for an oil company to seize property for new pipelines. The Wood County Board of Supervisors voted 10 to 8 for the nonbinding resolution, which asks the state Legislature to pass a new law that would take away the power of Enbridge Energy, a Canadian energy delivery company, to seize property through eminent domain. The resolution mentions Enbridge Energy by name. The measure was pushed by a group of property owners with the name “80 Feet is Enough”, which refers to the width of an existing oil pipeline easement.  The group’s founder and leader Mark Borchardt said he already has four pipelines running through his land near Marshfield, and is worried Enbridge Energy will build another one.

GOP LAWMAKERS INTRODUCE BILL OPENING WISCONSIN TO MININGTwo Wisconsin lawmakers on Thursday introduced a controversial proposal to repeal state law requiring mining companies to demonstrate that they have operated without polluting before they are permitted to extract metals here. “People want to make things in America again,” said Sen. Tom Tiffany, R-Hazelhurst. “Our neighbors, Minnesota and Michigan, have placed their shovels in the dirt of America’s future. It is Wisconsin’s turn to do the same.” Tiffany, who was instrumental in a 2013 law relaxing state iron mining regulations, has been talking for months about lifting the so-called “moratorium” on mining for sulfide metals such as copper and gold.

UW-PLATTEVILLE FLUSHING WATER PIPES AT PIONEER STADIUM AFTER HIGH LEAD LEVELS FOUND– UW-Platteville is flushing water pipes at Pioneer Stadium and plans to replace the pipes in the coming school year, after elevated lead levels were found in drinking water, a spokesman said. The university started testing water sites around campus last year. Tests at the stadium last month found levels exceeding an Environmental Protection Agency guideline, said Paul Erickson, UW-Platteville’s director of communications. Tests on July 7 found 22.3 parts per billion of lead in exterior faucets and 34 ppb in the press box, higher than the EPA guideline of 15 ppb, Erickson said. Testing on July 24 showed 19.45 ppb in the exterior faucets and 32.3 ppb in the press box, he said. He said a sink in the press box registered 74.2 ppb, but it’s not clear when that test was done. The press box, along with much of the stadium, doesn’t get much use in the summer, leading to stagnant water, he said.

MASSACHUSETTS HOMEOWNERS COULD BE REQUIRED TO DISCLOSE LEAD IN PIPES– Home sellers in Massachusetts have for decades been required to tell potential buyers if toxic lead paint or plaster was detected in tests of the property. But there are no such mandates for lead found in drinking water pipes inside homes, which environmental groups say poses an equally serious threat to public health. State lawmakers are trying to plug that loophole in the law. Legislation filed by state Rep. Russell Holmes, D-Boston, and backed by a dozen lawmakers would add lead in plumbing and water pipes to the list of required pre-sale disclosures. Another proposal, filed by state Sen. Jason Lewis, D-Winchester, would go further by requiring disclosure of lead found in service lines running to residential properties. While neither of the bills would require testing or remediation of lead contamination, supporters say it would improve public safety.

MUNICIPALITIES, ROADS FEELING EFFECTS OF BUDGET SQUEEZE– Sturgeon Bay’s streets have deteriorated so badly that the city has convened a special committee to investigate funding solutions to improve them, but streets will get worse before they get better. City Engineer Chad Shefchick told the Ad Hoc Committee on Funding for Local Street & Infrastructure July 11 that present funding levels require the city to get 50 – 60 years out of its streets, but Mayor Thad Birmingham said that Wisconsin’s cap on municipal property tax levy increases has tied their hands. Prior to 2010, local governments could increase their tax levy by 3 percent of the previous year’s levy. In 2010, Gov. Scott Walker lowered that limit to 0, allowing Wisconsin municipalities to increase property taxes only at the rate of net new construction in the community. So even as the cost of fuel, materials, services, and human resources increases, budgets do not unless there is significant new construction. Levy increases were first capped at 3 percent by Gov. Jim Doyle in 2006.

GREAT LAKES SCIENTISTS DEFEND FEDERAL SPENDING ON RESEARCH– Some Great Lakes scientists are concerned about possible federal budget cuts affecting their work as the fate of spending next year on Great Lakes research is still foggy. Congress has started to reverse some of President Donald Trump’s budget plans for the Great Lakes, which were announced earlier this year. It now looks like the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative won’t be zeroed out in the federal budget, and neither will the Sea Grant program. But it’s a little too early to say for sure about possible smaller cuts. Some scientists are also concerned about potential trimming to research funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other federal departments.

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT FUNDS AVAILABLE FOR STORM DAMAGE REHABILITATION– The Department of Administration has Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds available to assist low-to moderate-income households with storm damage rehabilitation and repairs to their primary residence. Examples of assistance include the repair or replacement of furnaces and water heaters, electrical, and foundation repairs. Water sources (main water line, well pump repair/replacement) and sewer/septic repairs are also eligible activities under CDBG. Following Governor Walker’s emergency declaration, representatives from DOA are partnering with the local governments to utilize the CDBG Emergency Assistance Program in Kenosha, Racine, and Walworth counties. Coordination efforts are underway in the counties as they organize a long-term recovery group for southeast Wisconsin. A CDBG application must be submitted by a local unit of government. Application materials can be found at

16TH ANNUAL WRWA OUTDOOR EXPO– Don’t miss this educational and fun-filled event being held this week at the WRWA Office & Training Center in Plover. 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– “The only difference between death and taxes is that death doesn’t get worse every time Congress meets.”- Will Rogers

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