Saturday , 25 February 2017

January 20, 2016 E-News

CITY, VILLAGE UNDER STRICTER PHOSPHORUS LIMITS – Tom Grunewald and Rick Rubenzer feel for cities and villages that have to meet stricter phosphorus limits set by the state Department of Natural Resources. Recently issued DNR permits will require municipalities to cut the phosphorus content of their wastewater treatment plants, in some cases as much as 10-fold, from 1 part-per-million to 0.1 ppm over the next eight to nine years. Grunewald, public works director for Boyd, said his village uses two seepage cells to treat water, and will not have to meet the new limits. For those plants that do, Grunewald said: “It’s going to be spendy.” He added, “I don’t know if some of these plants could meet that.” Rubenzer, the public works director for Chippewa Falls, said the city installed bio-phosphorus removal plant in 1996. The city is close to, but still under, the limit. “We have the Chippewa River as a relatively good receiving body,” Rubenzer said. Municipalities having difficulty meeting the stringent limits have the option of taking credit for other phosphorus reductions within the region in order to come into compliance.

WALKER PROMISES ‘SCIENCE-BASED’ GROUNDWATER SOLUTIONS – In an interview before an invite-only “town hall” meeting at the Kewaunee County Administration building Thursday, Gov. Scott Walker promised “science-based” solutions to the county’s water pollution problems. He said that now that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) had concluded its workgroups this month in the county to address groundwater issues, the DNR would be meeting with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency at the end of next week to “put forth a comprehensive plan and make sure it is based on science.” He said that the studies currently being done by the DNR and county would determine whether most of the contamination was being caused by agricultural runoff or other pollutants and if different well depths were part of the problem. “We want to make sure that people have clean, safe water,” Walker said.

MMSD EYEING EXPENSIVE FIX FOR EQUIPMENT-DAMAGING CONTAMINANTS – Silicon compounds widely used in cosmetics, personal care products and as a food additive are becoming frequent, equipment-damaging contaminants at the South Shore sewage treatment plant, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District officials said. The district’s commission will decide Jan. 25 whether to pay a consultant up to $570,000 to design a system capable of removing the compounds before they can cause problems by turning to sand in one treatment step. Such a removal system could cost another $1.5 million or more. More of the grit has been showing up in recent months and the resulting damage requires extensive repairs, said Mike Martin, the district’s technical services director. MMSD is reviewing cumulative costs of those repairs but no estimate is available at this time, he said. Recent unusually high concentrations of the compounds, known as siloxanes, also are interfering with the district’s goal for South Shore to become 100% self-sufficient in energy production by 2035.

EPA SURVEY SHOWS $271 BILLION NEEDED FOR WASTEWATER INFRASTRUCTURE – EPA has released a survey showing that $271 billion is needed to maintain and improve the nation’s wastewater infrastructure, including the pipes that carry wastewater to treatment plants, the technology that treats the water, and methods for managing stormwater runoff. “The only way to have clean and reliable water is to have infrastructure that is up to the task,” said Joel Beauvais, EPA’s Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator for Water. “Our nation has made tremendous progress in modernizing our treatment plants and pipes in recent decades, but this survey tells us that a great deal of work remains.”!OpenDocument

LEGISLATORS INTRODUCE THE RURAL WISCONSIN INITIATIVE – This week, a group of Republican legislators hailing from rural areas across the state came together to announce the Rural Wisconsin Initiative, an initial package of seven pieces of legislation that they hope will jumpstart a conversation on opportunities in outstate Wisconsin. The plan includes bills that will boost funding for broadband expansion grants, increase available resources for youth apprenticeship grants and tuition reimbursement grants for apprenticeships, create rural opportunity zones, expand a student loan repayment program for rural teachers, encourage expanded STEM education programs, and bolster funding for the Wisconsin Rural Physician Residency Assistance Program (WRPRAP). They have established a website with information on the initiative, and are asking for input from rural Wisconsin residents at

MINNESOTA AIMS MONEY AT SMALL, RURAL COMMUNITIES WITH WATER WOES – Minnesota cities, especially small rural ones, ask the state for money almost every year to improve their sewage treatment systems. Same for their water treatment plants. With a new law requiring farmers to separate cropland from water with vegetation, they also seek financial help. Those and other water-quality issues equal a big problem for Minnesota, Gov. Mark Dayton said Thursday as he proposed that the state borrow nearly $220 million to improve the state’s water. “Minnesotans are used to clean, safe affordable, high quality water for drinking, recreational purposes, businesses for their purposes,” Dayton said. “It is no longer something we can take for granted.”

EPA LAUNCHES VISUALIZE YOUR WATER CHALLENGE TO FIND SOLUTIONS TO NUTRIENT POLLUTION – Nutrient pollution is one of America’s most widespread and costly environmental problems. EPA, the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Department of Education, the Great Lakes Observing System, and ESRI have come together to launch the Visualize Your Water challenge. This Challenge seeks to engage the innovative spirit of high school students in the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay watershed states to create compelling visualizations about nutrient pollution using GIS software and water quality data collected by federal, state, and local efforts. The Visualize Your Water Challenge will help students cultivate career-oriented skills and learn about local nutrient pollution issues while encouraging environmental stewardship. This Challenge continues the work of the Challenging Nutrients Coalition, a coalition of federal agencies and non-governmental organizations, to improve our ability to measure, understand and reduce nutrient pollution.

WRWA’s 2016 EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS & RESPONSE SEMINAR – This annual event brings in experts from state & local agencies, power companies and water & wastewater industries to discuss ways to prepare for and respond to disaster situations. This year’s agenda includes case histories on community response, electrical power safety, emergency disinfection and distribution system hydraulics during large fires. The seminar is being held in Plover on February 17th, to register go to-

QUOTE – “Sometimes the road less traveled is less traveled for a reason.” – Jerry Seinfeld

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

municipalwell american

“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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