Saturday , 18 November 2017

March 1, 2017 E-News

BAYFIELD COUNTY PRESSES STATE FOR MORE AUTHORITY TO PROTECT WATER RESOURCES FROM FARM RUNOFF – Bayfield County is looking for more leeway from the state to protect water quality from potential farm runoff, but state officials say their hands are tied to the letter of the law. Iowa-based Reicks View Farms plans to build a farm for 26,000 hogs in the county. Bayfield County passed an ordinance last year that went beyond state standards for manure storage to protect a watershed there from large farms, but the state rejected it. County leaders met with officials from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources last week to discuss their concerns. Bayfield County Board Supervisor Fred Strand said state standards aren’t always adequate to protect water resources. Counties can implement more stringent standards, but they have to prove to the state that they’re needed to achieve water quality standards.

LAWMAKERS MULL HIGH-CAPACITY WELL BILL – Several central Wisconsin lawmakers say they aren’t ready yet to support a bill that would ease regulation of high-capacity wells, which research has shown is linked to declining water levels in the region’s lakes and streams. Earlier this month, a group of GOP legislators introduced a measure in the state Senate to allow owners of high-capacity wells to repair and transfer such wells without getting approval from the state Department of Natural Resources. Anyone seeking to construct or operate a high-capacity well must currently get the DNR to sign off first. State Rep. Scott Krug, R-Nekoosa, said Monday that he doesn’t support the legislation in its current form and is planning to offer two amendments to the Assembly version of the bill, which has not yet been introduced. The first amendment would seek to ensure that when wells are transferred, they don’t draw more water than previously used. Krug’s other amendment would address an element of the bill that requires the DNR to study the hydrology in parts of nine counties in central and eastern Wisconsin, including Wood, Portage and Adams counties. Krug said he wants to expand that area to include the entire Central Sands region.

CATTLE, HUMANS BOTH HELP TAINT WELLS IN WISCONSIN’S KEWAUNEE COUNTY – In a new study of groundwater conditions in dairy farm-intensive Kewaunee County, researchers found higher levels of well contamination from cattle during wet weather events — when manure, rain and melting snow can seep quickly into the ground. But the results also show that cattle in this northeastern county are not the only source of tainted drinking water. Human waste from sanitary systems is also polluting wells. The study is the latest research on factors affecting groundwater pollution in a region where tensions over large-scale farms are the greatest in Wisconsin. “The bottom line is that both kinds of mammals — large animals and humans on the landscape — are to blame,” said Mark A. Borchardt, a microbiologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, whose work was funded by the Department of Natural Resources. Kewaunee County has one of the highest concentrations of large-scale farms in the state. The farms have come under sharp criticism for having an out-sized impact.

DNR AWARDS GRANTS FOR SURFACE WATER PROJECT PLANNING – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has awarded 215 grants in 67 counties totaling more than $3.1 million for projects to improve water quality and aquatic habitat. The surface water planning grants support lake and river project planning and aquatic invasive species education, prevention and planning. This year, the grants will leverage an additional $1.8 million in matching funds by lake and river associations, local governments and nonprofit groups. Shelly Thomsen, DNR lakes and rivers team leader, said the projects help communities understand the condition of aquatic ecosystems and watersheds, conduct studies and develop management plans. Grant funds originate from a tax on fuel used by boats in Wisconsin. “Planning grants help local groups collect, analyze and communicate information needed to protect and restore lakes and their watersheds. It’s the first step for improving water quality in our state.”

U.S. GOVERNORS PREPARE WISH LISTS FOR TRUMP INFRASTRUCTURE PROMISE – President Donald Trump’s campaign promise for a $1 trillion infrastructure program will be in focus when U.S. governors gather on Friday in Washington, D.C., with some states making wish lists of projects ranging from a bullet train to statewide broadband internet service. The winter meeting of the National Governors Association running through Monday is expected to showcase rare bipartisan agreement on the need for more federal help in upgrading roads, bridges and airports, said Scott Pattison, the group’s executive director. “There’s just this pent-up demand to deal with, whether it’s a crack in a dam, a bridge, whatever it is,” Pattison said in a telephone interview. Although there is little movement on Capitol Hill to make Trump’s infrastructure vow a reality, governors have sent the White House a list of 428 projects they say are ready to go with some extra federal spending.

FLOOD PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE TOOLS FOR WATER UTILITIES – EPA has developed tools to help utilities both mitigate the threat of flooding and take action during an emergency. Water and wastewater systems can use the resources below to increase your overall flood resilience and emergency preparedness.

Flooding Incident Action Checklist– Use this “rip and run” checklist to respond to and recover from flooding in your area. It outlines key actions that can be taken immediately before, during, and after the event to mitigate impacts.

Flood Resilience Guide- This interactive, user-friendly guide contains worksheets, best practices, videos and key resources to help water utilities build resilience to flooding. The Guide’s four main sections include: Overview of flood resilience, Developing an approach to flood resilience, Identifying flood mitigation measures & Flood resilience pilot project.

Federal FUNDS- The Federal Funding for Utilities in National Disasters (Fed FUNDS) tool helps drinking water and wastewater utilities identify pre- and post-disaster funding opportunities and offers tips on how to apply.

WRWA ANNUAL TECHNICAL CONFERENCE – Less than four weeks until the WRWA 29th Annual Technical Conference is held March 28-31 in LaCrosse. With 1,500 anticipated attendees and 230 exhibit booths this should be the largest WRWA conference ever. Don’t miss the opening session and awards presentation, Sportsman’s Raffle prize drawings, banquet, poster, video and water taste contests and over 40-hours of training sessions throughout the week. This conference has something for everyone in the water & wastewater industries. For more information, go to

QUOTE – “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” –  Abraham Lincoln

“This week’s issue of the Rural Water E-News is sponsored by the following WRWA Corporate Gold Members and Businesses:”




“For information on WRWA Corporate Gold member benefits and other advertising opportunities, contact Renee at”

David Lawrence
WRWA Executive Director
(715) 344-7778

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