Saturday , 18 November 2017

July 19, 2017 E-News

PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION SETS HEARING DATE FOR PROPOSED CHANGES TO PSC 185– The PSC will be accepting comments on proposed changes to PSC 185 administrative codes regulating municipal water utilities at a hearing on Thursday, August 10th. The hearing is at 10:00 am and will be held in the Amnicon Falls Hearing Room – 1st Floor, Public Service Commission, 610 North Whitney Way, Madison, Wisconsin. For information on the proposed changes and on ways to provide written or oral comments, go to and enter “1-AC-233” in the box labeled “Quick Single Docket Search”.

MANURE SPILL ENTERS NORTHEASTERN WISCONSIN CREEK– A manure spill at a 950-cow dairy farm in northeastern Wisconsin ran into a local creek that feeds into the Fox River. The owners of Neighborhood Dairy reported the spill Monday and have installed a temporary clay dam to contain the runoff.  An agricultural runoff specialist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said it’s not known how much manure entered Dutchman’s Creek located outside of Freedom, southwest of Green Bay. Ben Uvaas said Neighborhood Dairy reported at least 20,000 gallons of manure were released from a holding pit. “The farm estimates 20,000 gallons was lost from the pit,” Uvaas said. “So out of that a fraction, a percentage would have gotten to Dutchman’s Creek. That’s probably the best estimate we’re ever going to have for this.” Uvaas said the farm worked quickly to contain the spill by having a contractor build a clay berm.

GROUNDWATER CONCERNS FLOATED AS WISCONSIN REDUCES WELL REGULATIONS– Owners of wells that pump more than 100,000 gallons of water a day are no longer subject to Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources review for maintenance and replacement of existing wells. Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill June 1 that reduces DNR oversight of high-capacity wells, which are used mostly by farmers and industrial businesses. The new law allows well owners to forego DNR review for well maintenance, reconstruction and ownership transfers. It also allows well owners to replace existing wells to prevent contamination or to build a well of the same depth within a 75-foot radius of the original well without DNR approval. The bill passed both houses along party lines. Rep. Shannon Zimmerman of River Falls was among nearly 62 Republican Assembly members to vote for the bill, with only one negative vote among the caucus. Zimmerman downplayed the bill’s significance and said he concluded from WDNR studies that the environmental impacts of high-capacity wells — as well as standard wells — are unknown.

RESIDENTS NEAR SHUTTERED BADGER ARMY AMMUNITION PLANT WAIT FOR WATER SYSTEMTwenty years ago, the Army began a massive cleanup effort at what was once the world’s largest ammunition factory. The groundwater there was tested by the Army regularly to determine the effects of rocket propellant, gunpowder production and several toxic chemical spills. To insulate local residents from any groundwater contamination, the Army proposed a solution — a $20 million municipal water system to serve 400 households living near the former plant, the majority in the town of Merrimac. The Army would pay to hook up homes to the system so they would no longer have to rely on private wells that could be at risk for contamination. In 2010, the Army said it could have the system up and running in about three years. Seven years later, there is still no system. The Army now says it is on hold indefinitely while it does more testing and reevaluates whether it had the authority to propose the municipal water system in the first place.

MORE STUDY NEEDED ON LARGE FARMS’ IMPACT – A committee studying the issue of large livestock farms likely will tell the Dunn County Board later this month that more study is needed on the issue. The Livestock Operations Study Group was formed last fall when a six-month moratorium was enacted by the Dunn County Board on the licensing of new or expansion of concentrated animal feeding operations. The moratorium ended May 4 but was expanded for another 45 days later that month by the County Board. Study group Chairman Tom Quinn said July 6 the panel believes there needs to be some expansion management but there is support for maintaining diverse livestock agriculture in the county. The goal is to understand CAFOs to better manage them, Quinn said. “If we do that, maybe we can avoid some of the very large nonlocal operations,” he said.

WISCONSIN BILL OPPOSES BACK FORTY MINE PROJECT– Representative Amanda Stuck and Senator Dave Hansen were joined today by Reps. Eric Genrich & Jeff Mursau in introducing a bi-partisan Joint Resolution in opposition to Aquila Resources’ proposed Back Forty Mining Project along the Menominee River in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. “We are calling on the State of Michigan to oppose this project and for the Wisconsin DNR and Governor Walker to voice their concerns about this mining proposals potential negative impacts on Northeast Wisconsin. Jeopardizing everything from tourism, ground and surface water, and property values,” stated Rep. Amanda Stuck. Bi-partisan opposition to the proposed mine is growing in Northeast Wisconsin due to increasing concerns about the potential harm it could cause to the Menominee River and Green Bay as well as the employees and businesses that depend on those waterways for their livelihood.

ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS DROP LAWSUITS OVER MONROE COUNTY FRAC MINE, CONTINUE CHALLENGE TO DNR PERMIT – Groups opposed to a proposed Monroe County frac sand operation have dropped court cases against the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources but are continuing efforts to overturn the agency’s approval of a permit to fill pristine wetlands. The DNR in May granted Meteor Timber permits to fill 16.25 acres of wetlands to make way for a proposed $65 million processing and loading facility that would serve a nearby mining site the Georgia investment company acquired in a 2014 purchase of nearly 50,000 acres. That would be the largest single destruction of wetlands in the state for an industrial frac sand project, according to the group Clean Wisconsin. Clean Wisconsin last month petitioned the agency to review its decision.

WRWA 16th ANNUAL OUTDOOR EXPO – Mark your calendars now to attend this educational and fun-filled event. Classroom training, product demonstrations, attendee activities, heavy equipment displays, Raffle prizes and lunch & refreshments provided. It also includes our Utility Truck competition, “Buy, Sell and Swap” area where you can display items for sale to the over 700 attendees of the event, and the “Tools of the Trade” area where you can display items, tools and equipment you’ve designed yourself to make your job easier. For additional information on this event or to register, go to

QUOTE– “Too many people spend money they haven’t earned to buy things they don’t want to impress people they don’t like.”-  Will Rogers

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David Lawrence
WRWA Executive Director
(715) 344-7778

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