Friday , 20 October 2017

June 14, 2017 E-News

RESEARCHERS WANT TO KNOW IF COWS ARE TO BLAME FOR CONTAMINATED WELLS IN NORTHEASTERN WISCONSIN– People in Kewaunee County are getting sick by drinking water from private wells. That’s a preliminary conclusion from the leader of a study on the region’s groundwater. A United States Department of Agriculture microbiologist presented preliminary findings of a two-year groundwater study Wednesday night in Kewaunee County. In Kewaunee County, 4,896 households depend on private wells. Mark Borchardt, a microbiologist with the USDA, and a team from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh randomly monitored 621 wells. They found about 380 county residents are at risk of contracting a stomach parasite every day. “We know in Kewaunee County there’s two to nine cases of cryptosporidiosis per year that are lab confirmed,” Borchardt said. But Borchardt said the symptoms most often go unreported “with the dose that we calculated that’s 10 infections per 10,000 people. That means in Kewaunee County we’d expect about 140 cryptosporidiosis cases per year from private wells”.

DANE COUNTY CLEAN WATER INITIATIVES DISCUSSED AT RIVERWAY BOARD MEETING MUSCODA – The Lower Wisconsin State Riverway Board (LWSRB) met at the Riverway’s Black Hawk Unit in the Town of Mazomanie, Dane County, on June 8th to conduct a regular monthly business meeting. The guest speaker for the evening was Pete Jopke, Dane County Water Resources Planner, who discussed some of the innovative projects the Dane County Land & Water Resources Department have initiated to improve water quality in area lakes and streams. Jopke highlighted efforts to remove phosphorus from the system, which contributes to algae blooms and degradation of overall water quality. He discussed the digester at Middleton that returns 35,000 gallons of clean water to surface water or groundwater each day and removes hundreds of pounds of phosphorus. Jopke noted farmers are important partners in enhancing water quality through implementation of practices such as grassed waterways and barnyard runoff control. He added the county is experimenting with easements that provide for planting of harvestable buffers along wetlands and streams. Another unique project involves removal of legacy phosphorus on Dorn Creek, which will be accomplished by dredging over the next few years.

WALKER’S POINT RESIDENTS COMPLAIN OF SEWAGE ODORS FROM JONES ISLAND– A fast-growing neighborhood on Milwaukee’s near south side with new restaurants and costly condos is located a stone’s throw from the state’s largest sewage treatment plant — and its unpleasant odors. Walker’s Point is the only city neighborhood that can boast all three major rivers — Milwaukee, Menomonee and Kinnickinnic — flow around its borders. It is cheered as a walkable and bikeable environment that draws people outdoors.  As sure as some people moving to rural properties eventually complain of manure smells from the third-generation farm down the road, some of the residents who have moved into Walker’s Point in recent years are questioning why sewage odors from the 1920s-era treatment plant on Jones Island invade their space.

MADISON WATER USE SPIKES TO HIGHEST JUNE LEVELS SINCE 2012, CITY OFFICIALS SAY– With Saturday’s warm, muggy weather and a recent lack of rain, Madison water use surged over the last week, city officials said. The city pumped about 36.5 million gallons of water to businesses and residents Saturday, the most during a June day since 2012, said Madison Water Utility spokeswoman Amy Barrilleaux.  Over the last seven days, Madison has pumped an average of nearly 32 million gallons a day — a more than four million gallon a day increase from the week before, according to the water utility.  To meet the demand, Madison tapped two additional seasonal wells, Barrilleaux said. A lack of precipitation in June and recent temperatures around 90 degrees led to the spike in water usage in Madison, the water utility said.  High temperatures in Madison are expected to be in the mid-to-upper 80s through Friday, according to the National Weather Service. Madisonians use about 55 gallons of water per person a day, the water utility said.

BAYFIELD COUNTY TO DEFEND CAFO ORDINANCE IN COURT– Bayfield County will argue its case against the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in court next month. The two are at odds over a county ordinance that would place more restrictions on large-scale farms to protect water quality there. The county passed its South Fish Creek ordinance last year, which goes beyond state standards for regulating concentrated animal feeding operations, also known as CAFOs. The ordinance would require CAFOs that locate near the South Fish Creek watershed to provide a minimum of 540 days of manure storage. Iowa-based Reicks View Farms has proposed building a farm upstream for about 26,000 hogs that is expected to produce around 10 million gallons of manure each year. County officials are proposing additional requirements for large farms to avoid exacerbating water quality issues from farm runoff due in part to the region’s clay soils. In the last several years, researchers discovered phosphorous levels for South Fish Creek exceeded maximum limits under state standards. The Wisconsin DNR rejected the county’s ordinance last year.

QUOTE– “One way to make sure crime doesn’t pay would be to let the government run it.” – Ronald Reagan

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David Lawrence
WRWA Executive Director
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