Saturday , 25 February 2017

August 24, 2016 E-News

DNR PUSHES BACK REORGANIZATION – Thirteen months after unveiling plans for a major reorganization of agency operations, the Department of Natural Resources told employees on Tuesday that leaders are pushing back a rollout of the changes until late fall. The reorganization has been much anticipated because of the wide-ranging duties of the DNR, its perceived tilt to a more business-friendly agency and speculation over how extensive the makeover will be. The DNR enforces air and water pollution regulations, manages state parks and forests, and oversees hunting and fishing. In February, the agency said it was closing in on a realignment of operations that officials said they had hoped to have wrapped up by July 1. The changes, they said, could send some work to other units of government. Officials also said they wanted to streamline regulatory work. One example: Allow some companies to draft their own environmental permits under oversight of regulatory staff. The goal, officials said, is to make the agency run more efficiently without weakening environmental protection.

EPA SAYS SAFE SUPPLY ‘IMMINENT’ FOR THOSE WITH TAINTED DRINKING WATER – Help will be on the way soon for scores of Kewaunee County residents whose drinking water has been contaminated by animal waste, a federal official said Wednesday. Details would be wrapped up and announced “imminently,” a regional U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator said during a meeting of government agencies organized by Sen. Tammy Baldwin to answer public concerns. Baldwin called well contamination in Kewaunee County a “crisis,” and said the government’s failure to supply clean water to families with ruined wells was the top concern she has heard from that part of the state.

GREAT LAKES MAYORS OPPOSE WAUKESHA DIVERSION – Mayors of Great Lakes cities in the United States and Canada are objecting to the Great Lakes governors’ approval in June of the City of Waukesha’s request for a Lake Michigan water supply, the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative said Monday. The binational group of cities is asking the governors for a hearing to challenge the unanimous June 21 decision of the eight Great Lakes states to approve a diversion of lake water to Waukesha. The Chicago-based Conference of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers is reviewing the request, a spokesman said. The Cities Initiative also is asking President Barack Obama, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the International Joint Commission, established by the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909, for their help in preventing the diversion of lake water to Waukesha. The group submitted those same criticisms and others to the states and provinces before the June approval of the diversion request.

LA CROSSE COUNTY BOARD VOICES CONCERNS ABOUT DNR’S FAILURE TO PROTECT WATER – The La Crosse County Board and the county’s health department are so worried about the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ failure to oversee holders of wastewater discharge permits that the board passed a resolution urging the agency to follow “what’s already the law.” The county board’s resolution was prompted largely by a report from the state’s nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau in June that revealed significant problems with the DNR’s monitoring, enforcement and permitting of the Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, or WPDES. “(The DNR is) supposed to be doing certain things to make sure the state water supply remains pure, drinkable and healthy,” said county board member Monica Kruse, who is chairwoman of the board’s Health and Human Services Committee. “These are statutorily required services that are supposed to be provided at the state level, and they’re just washing their hands of them.”

CLEAN WATER FUND PROGRAM AND SAFE DRINKING WATER LOAN PROGRAM APPLICATION DEADLINES APPROACHING–  The on-line system is available for State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2018 Intent to Apply (ITA) & Priority Evaluation and Ranking Formula (PERF) submittals. The final submittal date for DNR Switchboard access requests and authorization certificates is October 21, 2016. This requirement applies to all types of projects funded under both the Clean Water Fund Program (CWFP) and the Safe Drinking Water Loan Program (SDWLP), including projects for replacement of private lead service lines between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018. For more information, go to

REGISTRATION IS OPEN FOR EPA’S AUGUST 30 WEBINAR ON BIOLOGICAL TREATMENT AND ION EXCHANGE – This small systems webinar is titled “Removal of Multiple Contaminants: Biological Treatment and Combined Ion Exchange.” Treavor Boyer (Arizona State University) will provide an overview of combined anion exchange and cation exchange as a single process to simultaneously remove dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and hardness. Nick Dugan (EPA) will discuss the biological treatment of drinking water as a process that has the potential to significantly reduce contaminant concentrations while minimizing the generation of treatment residuals. He will also present the scientific fundamentals of biological treatment and present several case studies that serve to illustrate the capabilities of the process as well as operation and maintenance issues that need to be considered. To register, go to

EPA WATCHDOG SAYS GOVERNMENT FAILS TO STUDY ETHANOL’S IMPACT – The Obama administration has failed to study as legally required the impact of requiring ethanol in gasoline and ensuring that new regulations intended to address one problem do not actually make other problems worse, the Environmental Protection Agency inspector general said Thursday. The conclusion in the new audit confirmed findings of an Associated Press investigation in November 2013. The AP said the administration never conducted studies to determine whether air and water quality benefits from adding corn-based ethanol to gasoline. Such reports to Congress were required every three years under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. The AP investigation described the ethanol era as far more damaging to the environment than the government predicted. As farmers rushed to find new places to plant corn, they wiped out millions of acres of conservation land, polluted water supplies and destroyed habitat.

BIG INDUSTRIES SAY HIGH ELECTRIC PRICES MAY PUSH THEM OUT OF WISCONSIN – High electric rates in Wisconsin could spark some of the state’s big manufacturers to move or expand elsewhere, the Wisconsin Public Service Commission is being warned. Consumers should be able to choose their power provider rather than being restricted to the current utility monopolies, the state regulatory panel was told, in a request to revive the long-dormant issue of electric choice in Wisconsin. The comments are among 30 submitted in response to the Strategic Energy Assessment 2022 (SEA), a 70-page report projecting Wisconsin’s energy needs and expectations over the next six years, approved by the PSC in late July. Wisconsin’s average electric rates are highest among eight Midwest states for the first time since 2006, according to the SEA, at 10.97 cents per kilowatt-hour. The other states’ average rates range from 8.65 cents in Iowa to 10.87 cents in Michigan. The U.S. average is 11.02 cents per kilowatt-hour, the report says.

QUOTE – “People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.”  George Bernard Shaw

“This week’s issue of the Rural Water E-News is sponsored by the following WRWA Corporate Gold Members and Businesses:”

bandm msa

“For information on WRWA Corporate Gold member benefits and other advertising opportunities, contact Renee at”

David Lawrence
WRWA Executive Director
(715) 344-7778

Comments are closed.