Saturday , 18 November 2017

May 10, 2017 E-News

COALITION URGES SUPPORT FOR LEADING ON LEAD BILL– More than 100 organizations, healthcare professionals, and faith and community leaders from across the state joined Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters today in an effort to move Senate Bill 48, the Leading on Lead Bill, to the Senate floor for a vote. Thousands of children across Wisconsin are exposed to toxic lead when they drink a glass of water due to old and deteriorating lead water pipes. Children with elevated blood lead levels can suffer profound and lifelong problems, including learning disabilities, mental illness, increased violent behavior, more suspensions from school, and more. To solve this problem, Sen. Rob Cowles (R-Allouez) introduced Senate Bill 48, which would allow local water utilities to offer grants or low-interest loans to homeowners to replace their lead pipes. The bill has broad bipartisan support. Of its 55 co-sponsors, about half are Republican and half Democrat.

MORE THAN 30 TONS OF DRUGS COLLECTED DURING DRUG TAKE BACK DAY IN WISCONSIN – Wisconsin residents got rid of a mountain of unused medications during the annual Drug Take Back Day, with officials collecting over 33 tons at 150 events and 300 permanent receptacles. Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel announced on Monday that 66,039 pounds of unused medications were collected at the events held on April 29, and at the 328 drug disposal drop boxes throughout Wisconsin, located mainly at municipal buildings and pharmacies. The amount set a record for Drug Take Back Day. The disposed drugs were boxed up and put onto pallets, ready for trucking to an incinerator in Indiana.

DNR BEGINS GIVING WATER TO THOSE WITH TAINTED WELLS– With livestock-contamination of drinking water a growing concern in Wisconsin, the Department of Natural Resources has quietly started efforts to provide temporary water supplies to people with tainted wells. The DNR posted an update on its website in April that said it would provide temporary emergency drinking water when tests show that a water supply is contaminated and is likely due to groundwater contaminated by manure, a person on the property contracts a water-borne illness or there is a sudden change in color or odor of well water. Two environmental groups issued statements Tuesday announcing the state initiative. Afterward, the DNR said in a statement the agency used aspects from several programs under existing law to set up the water program. It also notified authorities in Kewaunee County, where well contamination has been most severe.

LARGE DAIRY GETS RELUCTANT APPROVAL – The on-again, off-again large dairy farm project proposed for Green County is on again, following a somewhat reluctant vote in favor of the plan by the Green County Land and Water Conservation Committee. The committee voted unanimously last month to approve an application by Nebraska-based Tuls Dairies, LLC, to build the 5,800-cow Pinnacle Dairy in the town of Sylvester just northeast of Juda. Todd Tuls, his son T.J., and other family members would operate the dairy farm that could be up and running by as soon as the upcoming winter. The proposed dairy farm, which would be known as Pinnacle Dairy, would be a mirror image of the Rock Prairie Dairy east of Janesville, which is milking about 5,000 cows. Opposition to the farm has focused on the potential for groundwater pollution by the manure generated by the large dairy herd. Opponents say the water table is even more susceptible to pollution in Green County than in Kewaunee County, where much of the water supply has been found to be unsafe to drink.

NITRATE NIGHTMARE: LA CROSSE COUNTY ADVISORY BRINGS FLOOD OF WELL TESTS, WORRY – The letter from the La Crosse County Health Department came as a shock to Bryana Alameida. She and her husband, Josh, moved last fall into the new home they built in the August Prairie subdivision in the town of Holland with their two young children. Here they were, only half a year in their new home, and the county was warning their water might not be safe to drink. The Alameida family was one of 2,000 recipients of county health department letters in early April urging people to have their wells tested for nitrate and coliform bacteria. The county’s warning was triggered in part by the revelation in last summer’s Legislative Audit Bureau report on the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources that a concentrated animal feeding operation, also called a CAFO, in the town of Holland had elevated levels of nitrate in monitoring well tests since 2005.

MILLIONS IN REPAIRS NEEDED ON MILWAUKEE REGION’S WATER, SEWER SYSTEMS – Property taxpayers and municipal ratepayers in the Milwaukee metro area will be on the hook for tens of millions of dollars more in spending over the next five years to pay for upgrades to aging and worn-out infrastructure providing water and sewage services, says a new report. “There is little question that local taxpayers and ratepayers will be called upon to dedicate substantial and growing amounts of resources to taking care of their water and wastewater systems for the foreseeable future,” said Rob Henken. He is president of the Public Policy Forum and co-author with forum researcher Ben Juarez of the report, “Beneath The Streets.” One reason is that the pipes, pumps and treatment plants — the central infrastructure required to provide these basic services — are aging, said Henken and Juarez.

SCOTT WALKER ASKS LAWMAKERS TO BACK SWITCH TO SELF-INSURANCE PLAN FOR PUBLIC EMPLOYEES– Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is asking members of the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee to back his proposal to move state employees’ health plans to a self-insurance model. Walker on Monday said his administration has negotiated self-insurance contracts that would save the state $60 million during the 2017-19 budget period. The contracts, negotiated by the state Group Insurance Board and Division of Personnel Management, were submitted to the Joint Finance Committee for review. The budget-writing committee has 21 days to review the agreements. If the committee takes no action by June 7, the state may go forward with the contracts, which are set to take effect in 2018. Lawmakers in both parties have been skeptical of the proposal from the start. Under Walker’s budget, the $60 million of projected savings from self-insurance would be used to fund a portion of a $649 million boost in per-pupil aid for K-12 education.

WFU DISAPPOINTED BY PASSAGE OF SHORT SIGHTED HIGH-CAP WELL BILL– Wisconsin Farmers Union expressed disappointment at the passage of SB 76 by the legislature this week. “This bill had the potential to provide a real, meaningful path forward for farmers in the Central Sands, but it went for the shallow quick fix instead,” said WFU Government Relations Director Kara O’Connor. “There is clear and mounting evidence that over-pumping in the Central Sands region is causing declines in lake and stream levels. The sooner we all acknowledge that fact, the sooner we can all start to work together to find real solutions.” The most recent scientific study to make the link between irrigation wells and surface water drawdown in the Central Sands was the Little Plover River groundwater flow modeling project completed last summer by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and other partners. That study found that:-Irrigation wells up to a mile and a half away from the Little Plover River can impact stream flows;-There is a delay of weeks to months from the time that pumping stops until river levels rebound; and-If pumping is repeated year after year the river never fully recovers from summertime seasonal drawdowns.

NESTLÉ FACES BACKLASH OVER COLLECTING WATER FROM DROUGHT-HIT CALIFORNIABacklash is growing over where the world’s top bottled water producer gets its supplies. Nestlé collects millions of gallons a year from springs in Southern California, an area prone to drought. As the company tries to meet the rising demand, activists are voicing their concern. The water business is booming. Bottled water sales are up nine percent over the last year, which has sent Nestlé looking for new sources to meet customer demand. Of their current 40 water sources around the country, 11 are in California — a state dealing with long-term drought concerns. “Every gallon of water that is taken out of a natural system for bottled water is a gallon of water that doesn’t flow down a stream, that doesn’t support a natural ecosystem,” said Peter Gleick, author of “Bottled and Sold.”

21st ANNUAL WRWA GOLF OUTING– This event will be held on May 17, 2017 at the Foxfire golf course in Waupaca. Proceeds from the golf outing are used to provide scholarships to those pursuing careers in the water & wastewater industries. To register, or for information on becoming a hole-sponsor, go to

QUOTE– “A lie told often enough becomes the truth.”- Vladimir Lenin

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David Lawrence
WRWA Executive Director
(715) 344-7778

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