Saturday , 18 November 2017

July 12, 2017 E-News

RURAL WATER E-NEWS ………………………7/12/17

WISCONSIN MOVES TO PROTECT GROUNDWATER WITH RULES LIMITING MANURE SPREADING– After years of complaints about manure spreading and its potential to harm drinking water, state officials are advancing first-ever rules to limit animal waste on vulnerable soils of eastern Wisconsin. The target of the proposed regulations is farmland that lies over fractured bedrock that, under the right circumstances, can serve as a conduit for pathogen-laden manure to soak into aquifers and taint drinking water. After prodding from environmental groups and some rural residents, the Department of Natural Resources is targeting 15 counties, including those of metropolitan Milwaukee, for certain manure-spreading standards. Tailoring runoff regulations by region is a first for Wisconsin. Such practices are currently regulated the same across the state. The DNR has concluded that groundwater standards in eastern Wisconsin cannot be met with a one-size-fits set of regulations and that special actions must be taken in the region.

MILWAUKEE MAKES A SPLASH WITH SURPRISE BID TO SELL LAKE MICHIGAN WATER TO WAUKESHA – Waukesha should know within a few months whether Oak Creek or Milwaukee will supply the more than 70,000 residents here with drinking water, according to top city officials. An unexpected offer from Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett’s office to sell Lake Michigan water to Waukesha is now being studied by local water officials. Water board members are expected to advise the Waukesha Common Council of their findings and recommend which of the two proposals is best for Waukesha. Water officials have touted for more than a year that a formal deal to buy lake water from Oak Creek would likely happen. And last month, Oak Creek plans seemed to be reinforced when separate informational sessions were held in Muskego, New Berlin and Franklin outlining the possible paths of water pipes connecting Oak Creek and Waukesha. But on May 15, Milwaukee submitted its own proposal, details of which the Waukesha Water Utility is keeping secret for now, general manager Dan Duchniak said.

BAYFIELD COUNTY, DNR IN SETTLEMENT TALKS OVER CAFO ORDINANCE– Bayfield County officials say they’ve begun formal settlement talks with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources over an ordinance that would go beyond state standards for large farms known as concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs. The two are at odds over the ordinance and were set to defend their positions in Bayfield County Circuit Court on Monday, but settlement discussions have postponed the court date. The county passed its South Fish Creek ordinance last year to protect water quality by placing more restrictions on large-scale farms that locate in the South Fish Creek Watershed, which flows into a bay of Lake Superior. Iowa-based Reicks View Farms has proposed building a farm upstream for around 26,000 hogs.  “The Bayfield County Large Scale Livestock Committee worked hard to develop a plan above and beyond the requirements of the DNR to protect our unique water resources and environment,” said Bayfield County Board Chairman Dennis Pocernich in a news release.

BUSINESSES ENCOURAGED TO APPLY FOR CHLORIDE REDUCTION REBATES THROUGH GROUNDBREAKING PROGRAM– To improve the region’s surface water quality and avoid costly treatment plant upgrades, Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District is encouraging area businesses to reduce salt use and apply for rebates through the district’s chloride reduction program. The rebate program helps businesses large and small and operates on a first-come, first-served basis. Rebates are tied to salt reductions to the sewer system in pounds per month; for example, facilities that reduce salt to the sewer system by an average of 500 to 1,499 pounds per month qualify for a $1,000 rebate. Emily Jones, a pollution prevention specialist with the district, said businesses participating in the program can save money on salt purchases and labor when they upgrade their water softeners or processes to use less salt. Businesses with large softeners can potentially save hundreds or thousands of dollars per year on salt alone. “Every bag of salt that goes into a water softener passes down the drain and through the treatment plant into local freshwater streams,” Jones said.

SMALL COMMUNITY FORUMS SCHEDULED– Now in their seventh year, the Small Community Forums, to be held in four locations in August and September, allow representatives of communities to come together, network, share best practices and identify strategies to address shared concerns. Additionally, representatives from many state and regional resource partners will be on hand to connect with attendees and provide guidance on specific concerns introduced during the sessions. Forums are scheduled to be held in Wabeno –Thursday, August 24, Gays Mills – Tuesday, August 29, Cambridge– Wednesday, September 13, and in Cumberland– Wednesday, September 20. Each Forum takes place from noon to 4:30 p.m., registration at each site opens at 11:30 a.m. The registration fee is $20 and includes lunch.  For more information and to register go to

PROPOSED BILL WOULD ALLOW ANYONE TO BUY INTO STATE HEALTHCARE PROGRAM– New legislation would allow a statewide healthcare program to be available for anyone to buy. Wednesday, Madison lawmakers announced a new proposal that would allow BadgerCare to become a public option for health insurance. While some locals say this would help Wisconsinites in a time of uncertainty of our national healthcare programs, others say, it’s just another mistake. While nationally, healthcare has been in an unsure state. Wednesday, lawmakers from Wisconsin announced new legislation to help people afford healthcare here. That legislation includes opening up BadgerCare to everyone as a public option for health insurance.

RESEARCHER FINDS ‘BEAUTIFUL’ AND ‘HORRIBLE’ MICROPLASTICS POLLUTING LAKE WINNEBAGO– A new study is raising concerns about the safety of eating fish from Lake Winnebago. The research reveals tiny pieces of plastic are skirting the wastewater treatment process to end up in the lake, where they can soak up toxins and are likely being consumed by fish. Experts say there’s a potential danger that those toxins could be passed on to people who consume fish from the lake. “It’s definitely a concern,” said Kelly Reyer, outreach coordinator for the Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance. “It can go through the food chain and potentially harm the ecosystem as well as public health because of people consuming the fish.” Plastic microbeads had previously been found in the Great Lakes, prompting state legislation to phase out products that contain them, but experts didn’t know whether they were in Lake Winnebago or other inland waters. The discovery of the beads in Lake Winnebago suggests they’re likely also present anywhere else that wastewater is discharged.

HOW MUCH LEAD IS ACCEPTABLE AT THE TAP? – EPA is attempting to determine a “health-based benchmark” which aims to predict the relationship between levels of lead in drinking water and blood lead levels (BLLs).  EPA conducted an expert peer review of the alternative approaches in their proposal on June 27-28.  The agency’s 2015 National Drinking Water Advisory Council (NDWAC) recommendations urged EPA to establish a household action level based on the amount it would take for an infant to have a BLL greater than 5 micrograms per deciliter (ug/dL) based on a healthy infant’s consumption of infant formula made with water.

PHILADELPHIA SETS WATER RATES BASED ON INCOME– More than 40 percent of the city’s water utility customers are delinquent in paying their water bills, amounting to about $242 million in uncollected revenue.  The city will charge lower water rates for households with incomes at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty line (which is roughly $3,075 a month for a family of four). Participating households will pay between 2 percent and 4 percent of their monthly income which could mean bills as low as $12 a month.

QUOTE– “One of the key problems today is that politics is such a disgrace, good people don’t go into government.”-  Donald Trump

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