Saturday , 25 February 2017

January 13, 2016 E-News

MINE PROPOSED ON MICHIGAN-WISCONSIN BORDER PROMPTS CONCERNS – With controversy over iron mining in northern Wisconsin subsiding in recent months, a Canada-based company has resurrected plans to develop an open-pit mine in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, a few hundred feet from the state border. Aquila Resources Inc. says it will invest more than $300 million to extract gold, zinc, copper and silver along the Menominee River, which divides northeastern Wisconsin from Michigan and flows into Green Bay. Michigan regulators, who must review permits for the project, held their first public hearing last week. While authorities in Madison have no regulatory oversight, a mine would have clear implications for Wisconsin and Lake Michigan.

MADISON WATER USAGE FALLS BELOW 10B GALLONS FOR 1ST TIME SINCE 1968 – Water conservation is having an effect in Madison. For the first time in 47 years, annual water use in Madison dropped below 10 billion gallons, with Madison Water Utility pumping 9,977,181 gallons of water to its customers in 2015. The last time water usage was below 10 billion gallons was in 1968 when 9,515,772 gallons were pumped. “Madison has 81,000 more people now than it had in 1968, but the city is using about the same amount of water,” said spokeswoman Amy Barrilleaux. The high water usage mark in Madison came in 2001, when just over 12.2 billion gallons of water was used. Conservation measures, such as the toilet rebate program and the web-based conservation tool, have helped water users save water and keep tabs on usage to see where usage can be cut back.

DNR FORWARDS WAUKESHA DIVERSION APPLICATION FOR REGIONAL REVIEWThe city of Waukesha’s Great Lakes diversion application and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ review documents will be forwarded for regional review to the other Great Lakes provinces and states. The diversion application will be sent to the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Water Resources Regional Body and Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Council. During the regional review process, the Great Lakes provinces and states will provide opportunities for public participation. The city of Waukesha proposes to obtain Lake Michigan water from the Oak Creek Water Utility and discharge treated wastewater to the Root River. If the application is approved by the Compact Council following the regional review process, the city of Waukesha would begin the necessary steps to obtain the required state permits for diverting Lake Michigan water. General information on the city of Waukesha’s diversion application, the Wisconsin DNR’s technical review and preliminary final environmental impact statement and all documents submitted for regional review can be found at, search “Waukesha diversion application.”

NEXT WISCONSIN PRESCRIPTION DRUG TAKE BACK DAY IS APRIL 30, 2016 – On April 30, 2016, the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) will coordinate a Prescription Drug Take Back Initiative throughout Wisconsin. The Prescription Drug Take-Back Day goal is to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposal of prescription medications, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of these medications. Unused prescription medications in homes create a public health and safety concern, because they can be accidentally ingested, stolen, misused, and abused. Unused or expired medicine should never be flushed or poured down the drain. Removing potentially dangerous pharmaceutical substances from our state’s medicine cabinets helps to prevent them from going into our water supply. Water reclamation facilities are not designed to remove all of them and trace amounts of pharmaceuticals are showing up in rivers and lakes around the world.

BUFFER STRIPS, WATER, CARBON TOP MINNESOTA’S ENVIRONMENTAL AGENDA – Major decisions on copper-nickel mining, a water quality summit and a push to reduce carbon emissions by Minnesota’s utilities will be among the top issues on Minnesota’s environmental agenda for 2016. Officials will be working to implement Governor Dayton’s buffer strip law, which will require farmers to leave vegetation buffers of up to 50 feet along streams and ditches to help filter out phosphorus, nitrogen and sediment to improve water quality. The DNR will produce final maps by July of public waters and ditch systems that will require buffers. Preliminary maps are expected late this winter. The maps will help landowners identify whether they need to create buffers and, if so, how wide.

UNITED STATES ADOPTS BAN ON MICROBEADSOn Monday, December 28th, President Obama signed a bipartisan bill that prohibits selling and distributing products containing microbeads in the United States. The bill is intended to protect the nation’s waterways. A microbead is any solid plastic particle that is less than 5 millimeters and is used for the purpose of exfoliating or cleansing, according to the bill. The new law includes a clause that preempts any local or state law (such as 2015 Wisconsin Act 43) that overlaps the products covered by the federal bill.

WRWA ASKS COMMUNITIES FOR FROST DEPTH INFORMATION– With the recent subzero temperatures, WRWA is asking communities & utilities to send current frost depth information to us throughout the winter so that we can create an online database to track frost depths across the state. By sending this information in periodically, it will allow everyone in the water & wastewater industries to check for updated frost depths in their area. Please send frost depth information to, and you can check the current listings on our website at

QUOTE– “Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.” Brian Gerald O’Driscoll


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

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

David Lawrence
WRWA Executive Director
(715) 344-7778

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