Saturday , 25 February 2017

January 27, 2016 E-News

DESPITE STATE EFFORTS, ARSENIC CONTINUES TO POISON MANY PRIVATE WELLS IN WISCONSIN – By the time Bradley Burmeister met his high school science teacher more than a decade ago, concerns had already surfaced about an ancient poison that was appearing in drinking water around their Fox River Valley community. High levels of arsenic, a substance used as a poison since the Middle Ages, had been detected in 1989 in several counties in the Fox Valley region of northeastern Wisconsin. In 2003, Seymour High School science teacher Dennis Rohr and his students began a study of private well water samples from the area that would continue for the next five years. The arsenic level the students detected in the Burmeister family’s well was off the charts: 1,650 parts per billion (ppb), or 165 times the federal health standard of 10 ppb.

MEGA-FARM MEETING DRAWS HUNDREDS IN ROME – Plans for a controversial large-scale dairy farm drew intense interest from hundreds of people over the weekend.

On Saturday, a concerned citizens’ group and the Rome Town Board convened a meeting to discuss the implications of the Golden Sands Dairy, a 5,300-cow, 8,000-acre farm being proposed in Saratoga, a town adjacent to Rome. Nearly 400 people attended the event, according to Rome resident Don Ystad, who helped organize the meeting. Some of Rome’s lakes already contain large amounts of phosphorus and have excessive algae growth, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, which has classified the lakes as being impaired. Ystad said he is concerned that runoff from the proposed farm could exacerbate the algae and that 33 high-capacity wells being sought to support the dairy operation could diminish water levels.

WATERWAY NEAR PROPOSED CAFO HAS HIGH PHOSPHORUS LEVELSResearchers in Ashland are seeing higher amounts of phosphorus in waters near Lake Superior. They say levels exceed state water quality standards in a creek that’s downstream from where a large hog farm may be built. Randy Lehr with the Center for Freshwater Innovation at Northland College said they’ve been sampling water quality at three sites in South Fish Creek, near the site where Iowa-based Reicks View Farms plans to build 26,000-hog operation in Bayfield County. “The data we’ve collected so far suggests that runoff from agricultural lands is likely a significant contributor to the elevated phosphorus concentrations,” he said.  The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ Nancy Larson said the state reviewed the data from Northland is adding the creek to its draft list of impaired waters. But, she said Reicks View wouldn’t be affected by that unless a phosphorus reduction plan is created for the watershed.

COUNTIES SEEK STATE STUDY OF WIND POWER, HEALTH – Brown and Kewaunee counties are asking the state Legislature to follow through on an initiative from the governor and fund a study of the potential human-health impact of industrial wind turbines. Brown County Executive Troy Streckenbach and Kewaunee County Board Chairman Ron Heuer plan to ask their respective boards to sign on in support of a request that the state either fund a study, or cede control of wind-turbine siting regulations to the counties — which would then presumably require greater distances between wind turbines and residences than is presently required. After approval by the boards, the request would then be sent to the Legislature, with a request to act before session’s end.

RENEWABLE ENERGY PROPONENTS HOPE FOR A ‘REVOLUTION’ IN WISCONSIN – Some renewable energy advocates are calling for a major overhaul of how clean energy is produced and regulated in Wisconsin: They want to move toward generating smaller amounts of power in more places, as opposed to producing large amounts in big coal or nuclear plants, while still producing enough electricity for all. Former We Energies employee and current renewable energy consultant Carl Siegrist is among those advocates. He doesn’t mince words when describing what he sees as an unprecedented transformation in power production. “We’re at the beginning of an energy revolution, and like all revolutions, this one’s not going to be easy,” he said. “This a fight between the old and the new, between dirty energy and clean energy, and between no choice and having a choice.”

MUNICIPAL UTILITIES LEGISLATIVE DAY – Register to attend this year’s Municipal Utilities Legislative Day held Wednesday, Feb. 17 in Madison to learn how you can make a difference. Join us for this collaborative effort provided by MEUW, WPPI Energy, Wisconsin Rural Water Association (WRWA), Municipal Environmental Group (MEG) Water and Wastewater Divisions and the Wisconsin Water Association (AWWA) to learn more about hot topics and legislation affecting municipal utilities. The day will consist of a legislative briefing and panel of speakers located at The Monona Terrace. You’ll also have a chance after lunch to connect with legislators and help them understand how their decisions directly impact your community. There is no cost to attend this event, deadline to register is Feb. 8, 2016 and you can register at

QUOTE – “Men don’t care about what’s on TV. They only care about what else is on TV.” Jerry Seinfeld

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David Lawrence
WRWA Executive Director
(715) 344-7778

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