Saturday , 25 February 2017

March 2, 2016 E-News

DNR MIGHT ALLOW SOME FIRMS TO DRAFT OWN ENVIRONMENTAL PERMITS – The state Department of Natural Resources is closing in on a major reorganization that could send duties to other agencies and streamline regulatory work, including an experimental plan to allow some businesses to draft their own environmental permits. Officials said the goal is to increase efficiency at an agency whose responsibilities range from management of hunting, fishing and state parks to regulating large-scale farms and keeping tabs on invasive species.  “We can’t nibble around the edges,” Deputy Secretary Kurt Thiede told employees last week. “We have to make strategic decisions about what we are going to continue to do, where we are going to focus and be brave enough to say we are going to give certain things up.”

NUMBER OF POLLUTED WATERS IN STATE, COUNTIES CONTINUE TO RISE – The proposed EPA Impaired Waters List for 2016 in Wisconsin contains 1,694 listings, more than double the 761 approved for the list in 2004. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has recommended an additional 209 waterways for the 2016 list. Every two years, under section 303 of the federal Clean Water Act, the EPA requires states to publish a list of all waters that are not meeting water quality standards. Many environmentalists say that the number of polluted waterways proposed for the list that flow into Lake Michigan is particularly alarming because of the Great Lakes’s importance as the largest source of fresh water in the world, supplying drinking water and recreational opportunities for millions of people. In Kewaunee County, two miles of the Kewaunee River and Marsh are proposed to be added to the 2016 list for total phosphorus levels that exceed water quality standards.  Two unnamed streams are also newly listed, one for excess phosphorus and one for an unknown pollutant.

LEAD POISONING WOULD TRIGGER TAP WATER TEST UNDER PROPOSAL – Two Democratic lawmakers from Madison and Milwaukee are proposing a bill that would require the state to conduct tap water testing when a child is lead poisoned. The measure also would lower the level at which the state would be required to investigate the source of lead in a child’s blood. Current law requires the Wisconsin Department of Health Services to investigate paint, dust and soil as sources of lead and then only when the blood lead level of a child is 15 or 20 micrograms per deciliter or higher, depending on the testing method, according to the bill draft. Madison Rep. Chris Taylor and Milwaukee Rep. LaTonya Johnson began circulating a draft of the bill Friday. It would lower the level requiring an investigation to 5 micrograms per deciliter or higher, which is the definition of lead poisoning used by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2014, nearly 4,000 Wisconsin children registered at those levels.

PLAN TO PIPE GREAT LAKES WATER DRAWS FIRE – When the Great Lakes states organized a decade ago to craft an unprecedented plan to protect their water from thirsty outsiders, they made sure the rules made it difficult for anyone to tap into the lakes. Still, when the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact was approved in 2008, the signatories left the door open, just a crack, for communities on the outside edge of the Great Lakes watershed to at least ask. Now, Waukesha is asking. Officials in the Wisconsin city of about 70,000 people just west of Milwaukee say their well water is too polluted with toxic radium to be safe and that they need to tap into Lake Michigan.

CYBERSECURITY WEBINAR FOR HEALTH AND PUBLIC SAFETY – The first Critical Infrastructure Cyber Community Voluntary Program webinar of 2016 will focus on the sectors related to health and safety, specifically Emergency Services, Healthcare and Public Health, and Food and Agriculture. Join the webinar to learn how these sectors are integrating cybersecurity measures, including the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework, into their comprehensive enterprise risk management. The webinar is being held on Thursday, March 3, 2016, 1:00-2:30 p.m. Eastern Time. Dial-In: 1-888-455-9681 PIN: 5853466 –

USDA INVESTS $25 MILLION IN HIGH-PRIORITY WATERSHEDS TO IMPROVE WATER QUALITYAgriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced an investment of $25 million targeted to help agricultural producers improve water quality in high-priority streams and rivers across the country. Through the National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI), USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will help agricultural producers in 187 priority watersheds apply conservation measures that contribute to cleaner water downstream.  “Clean water is in everyone’s interest, and the National Water Quality Initiative has been successful because it brings together multiple partners in strategic areas to work towards a common goal,” said Vilsack. “Restoring health to waterways benefits not just farmers and ranchers, but it also gives their communities safe drinking water and provides healthy habitat for fish and wildlife.”

QUOTE – “An idea isn’t responsible for the people who believe in it.” – Don Marquis

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

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David Lawrence
WRWA Executive Director
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