Saturday , 25 February 2017

July 6, 2016 E-News

WAUKESHA WATER DECISION PUTS REGIONAL SPOTLIGHT ON WISCONSIN’S ENVIRONMENTAL ENFORCEMENT – Waukesha scored a victory with the historic June 21, 2016 agreement to let the Milwaukee suburb draw 8.2 million gallons per day of drinking water from Lake Michigan. But following a years-long negotiation, both the state of Wisconsin and city of Waukesha had to make some concessions. A couple of these requirements may add to the scrutiny the state’s Department of Natural Resources faces following an audit released June 3 that detailed staffing shortages and lax enforcement at the agency. Based on the agreement, Waukesha must return as much water to Lake Michigan as it draws. After treatment, the city’s water utility will pump this water via the Root River, which empties into the lake near Racine.

GROUNDWATER HEARING PLAYS TO TOUGH CROWD – Audience response told much of the story during an informational hearing June 23 at which Russ Rasmussen, project manager with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, presented the final report and recommendations from the Kewaunee County Groundwater Workgroup on plans to deal with the county’s contaminated groundwater. The audience jeers-and-cheers meter revealed that not everyone in the crowd of more than 200 at the Kewaunee County Fairground in Luxemburg were happy with the past year’s progress. The newly released 63-page report was the result of a collaborative effort of stakeholders from local, state and federal government; environmental groups; and county residents, including members of the farming community. Its recommendations are directed at protecting groundwater in Kewaunee, Door and Brown counties but could also be applied throughout Wisconsin, Rasmussen said.

STATE REJECTS BAYFIELD COUNTY ORDINANCE FOR CAFOS – The state Department of Natural Resources has rejected an ordinance developed by Bayfield County in northern Wisconsin that sought to put more restrictions on large scale farms built near a watershed. Under Wisconsin state statutes, a local government can create a livestock ordinance that is more restrictive than state standards for nonpoint source pollution, but only if it’s needed to meet water quality standards. The DNR or Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection must then sign off on the changes. Bayfield County enacted the now-blocked ordinance earlier this year that went beyond state standards for regulating large farms near its South Fish Creek watershed. Iowa-based Reicks View Farms has plans to build a farm upstream for about 26,000 hogs.

WATER STUDY SHOWS PEOPLE NEED MORE INFO – A recent survey of 900 Fond du Lac County well water users found that residents are uninformed about the safety of their well water. “Women said they are less certain about the safety of their well water than men. Young people – under age 55 – are less likely to have thought about testing their water at all, and don’t know how,” said Diana Hammer Tscheschlok, economic development educator. The study conducted by the UW-Extension asked residents who have had samples of their well water tested in the past, residents in the town of Byron and a random selection of rural county residents to share their opinions about the safety of their well water. For women, having young children or pregnant women at home was a higher motivator to test. Knowing that a neighbor had a contaminated well, observing a visible change in well water, and having a local testing program offered were also motivators.

ANNIN SAYS WAUKESHA WATER AGREEMENT A ‘HISTORIC DEAL’ – As Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker held a press conference proclaiming the unanimous approval of the Great Lakes Compact members to allow the city of Waukesha to pump over eight million gallons of water a day from Lake Michigan, a Northland College expert on Great Lake Water issues says that the action will have only a very limited impact on policies governing Great Lakes water withdrawals. Peter Annin, Co-Director of the Northland College Mary Griggs Burke Center for Freshwater Innovation, said the event nevertheless was “an enormously historical event.” Annin, who is also the author of “Great Lakes Water Wars,” which has been called the definitive work on the Great Lakes water diversion controversy, said Waukesha’s application to take water from Lake Michigan was the first test case of its kind on the Great Lakes since the Great Lakes Compact was approved by Congress in 2008.

PUBLIC HEARING ON STRATEGIC ANALYSIS OF INDUSTRIAL SAND MINING SET FOR JULY 26 – The Department of Natural Resources will hold a public informational hearing on a draft analysis related to industrial sand mining in the state. The draft document and links to more information about industrial sand mining can be found on the industrial sand mining strategic analysis page of the DNR web site. The public hearing will be on July 26, starting at 4 p.m., at the Chippewa Valley Technical College, Business Education Center, in the Casper Conference Center, Room 103A/B, 620 W. Clairemont Avenue, Eau Claire. Written public comments may also be submitted until August 22, 2016, by email to: , or sent via US Mail to: ISM SA Coordinator, Wisconsin DNR OB/7, P.O. Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921.

WRWA/PSC REGIONAL UTILITY MANAGEMENT TRAINING SEMINARS – This long running collaborative effort between the Wisconsin Rural Water Association and the Wisconsin Public Service Commission to assist communities in staying in compliance with state utility regulations starts next week with the first 2016 session in Plover, WI. The session is being held on Thursday, July 13th at the WRWA Technology Center and will cover a variety of topics related to utility management, customer relations, construction authorization and lead service line replacement. For information on these sessions and to register, go to

QUOTE – “A mediocre idea that generates enthusiasm will go further than a great idea that inspires no one.”-  Mary Kay Ash

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David Lawrence
WRWA Executive Director
(715) 344-7778

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