Saturday , 25 February 2017

March 9, 2016 E-News

NITRATE LEVELS RISING IN WISCONSIN RIVER VALLEY – Doug and Sherryl Jones built their retirement dream home in 2000 on 11 acres outside Spring Green, just feet from Norten’s Slough, a tributary of the Wisconsin River. The former Prairie du Sac couple’s screened-in back porch overlooks the tree-lined slough where lily pads grow on the clear water. Eight years later, thick algae blooms have taken over and replaced the lily pads during the summer. “The water was pristine,” Doug said. “I’d go swimming in it. It progressively got worse and worse. Three years ago the whole slough was completely covered and looked like a golf course.” The Jonses live in what some experts have referred to as “nitrate alley” because the pollutant is being detected on a regular basis in the sloughs and well water of river valley area property owners.

LEGISLATURE APPROVES MANURE PIPING BILL – The Wisconsin Legislature has approved a bill that would give clear authority for local municipalities to permit the piping of liquid manure within a highway right-of-way. Senate Bill 390 – authored by State Senator Jerry Petrowski (R-29) and State Rep. James Edming (R-87) also would play a role in preserving roads. The bill passed the State Senate on Jan. 20, and the State Assembly passed the bill on Feb. 10. “With the idea of limiting excessive road use by semi-tractors and manure tankers to help preserve an aging and underfunded infrastructure, it’s important we find alternative means to transport liquid manure from point source to the fields,” said Rob Richard, senior director of governmental relations for the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation. The bill preserves landowner rights and does not lessen someone’s responsibility to prevent, clean up or pay for a manure spill, Richard said.

CONFLICT BETWEEN NEIGHBORS HIGHLIGHTS LIMITS OF POLLUTION REGULATION – On Jan. 31, Ben Arnold watched a river of tainted, melting snow from a neighboring farm meander across his property and flow into one of his ponds. The invading water — some of it dark as coffee — contained animal waste that the farmer had been spreading on a hillside. “The manure runoff has started,” Arnold wrote in the first of a flurry of emails he sent to state, county and local officials asking for help. “This will really get bad over the next few days.” Arnold’s problem underscores the often contentious and protracted process of managing and regulating manure in Wisconsin. With the onset of spring, authorities say, the potential for such troubles can grow.

NEW OIL PIPELINE FOCUS OF THURSDAY FORUM – Residents concerned about major oil pipelines running through central Wisconsin — and their impact on property rights and public safety — will gather Thursday near Marshfield. At the top of their agenda: Whether Enbridge Inc., which already operates pipelines carrying crude oil from Canada through Wood and Clark counties, might build another pipeline. An Enbridge executive told investors in October that the company was developing a plan to add the additional line, according to media reports. Enbridge has already been working to increase the volume of oil passing through one of the existing lines from 400,000 barrels per day to 1.2 million. The company’s current pipeline system through Wisconsin runs from Superior to the Illinois state line and contains four pipes; three carry crude oil from Canada, while the fourth carries a thinning agent from a refinery south of Chicago back to Canada.

DEADLY SUPERBUG IN L.A. SEWAGE COULD END UP IN THE OCEAN – The superbug known as CRE (carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae) is a growing public health concern, and now some scientists are raising alarms about what happens when it gets into sewage treatment plants. CRE — sometimes called the “nightmare bacteria” — is resistant to traditional antibiotics like penicillin and an even stronger group of antibiotics called carbapenems. Now research shows that the superbug has a welcoming environment in which to proliferate in sewage plants, where wastewater gets treated before being discharged into streams, lakes and oceans. The Los Angeles Times reports that last fall, scientists with the Environmental Protection Agency detected the bacteria in a sewage treatment plant in Southern California, thought to have been brought there with the millions of gallons of raw sewage from area hospitals, where the bug has been known to infect patients.

RADIUM LEVELS RISE IN WISCONSIN TAP WATER – In 2014, the village of Sussex in southeast Wisconsin made a dismaying discovery. The radioactive element radium, a contaminant that occurs naturally in bedrock throughout the region, had seeped into two of its seven water wells. It was not exactly a surprise. Radium has long been a problem in drinking water for dozens of Wisconsin communities from Green Bay to the Illinois border. The city of Waukesha has proposed replacing its radium-tainted groundwater with Lake Michigan water. If approved, the controversial plan would mark the first test of a provision in a 2008 international compact that allows Great Lakes water diversions only when a county — such as Waukesha County — straddles the basin that feeds water into the Great Lakes.

WISCONSIN CITY’S WATER REQUEST GETS CHILLY RECEPTION IN DULUTH – request by a Wisconsin city to draw 10.1 million gallons of water a day from Lake Michigan received a skeptical reception in Duluth on Thursday. Officials in Waukesha, a city of about 70,000 people just west of Milwaukee, say that the city’s wells are contaminated with toxic radium. To provide safe drinking water, they say, they need an exemption to rules barring the tapping of Great Lakes water by communities outside the watershed. But speakers during a Duluth listening session questioned whether Waukesha has done enough to clean its water of radium, or if it has exhausted all the alternatives. Some speakers at the Thursday night hearing, held in a full conference room at the downtown Holiday Inn, charged that Waukesha’s aim of increasing development was fueling its desire to tap into Lake Michigan.

CLASS ACTION SUIT FILED BY RESIDENTS OVER FLINT WATER CRISISA lawsuit stemming from Flint’s lead-contaminated water was filed Monday on behalf of the city’s residents against Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder as well as other current and former government officials and corporations. The federal lawsuit – which is seeking class-action status – alleges that tens of thousands of residents have suffered physical and economic injuries and damages. It argues officials failed to take action over “dangerous levels of lead” in drinking water and “downplayed the severity of the contamination” in the financially struggling city.

QUOTE – “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.” Benjamin Franklin

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

Ayres northernlakeservice

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


David Lawrence
WRWA Executive Director
(715) 344-7778

Comments are closed.