Tuesday , 21 February 2017

May 4, 2016 E-News

STATE TO PROVIDE $11.8 MILLION FOR LEAD LATERAL REMOVAL – With the water crisis in Flint, Mich., raising worries about the quality of drinking water, Wisconsin officials on Wednesday said they are making $11.8 million available to communities to remove aging lead pipes. The Department of Natural Resources said it will use its Safe Drinking Water Loan Program to provide funding to disadvantaged communities to help homeowners replace lead laterals. The program starts July 1. Milwaukee, which has about 70,000 homes with lead laterals, meets the criteria for a disadvantaged community, according to the DNR. The DNR routinely makes loans to communities to replace water infrastructure. But in this case, the money to homeowners would not have to be repaid, according to Robin Schmidt, environmental loans section chief for the DNR. Instead, the money could pay for all, or a part of, a homeowner’s share of replacing lead pipes. http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/state-to-provide-118-million-for-lead-lateral-removal-state-to-provide-118-million-for-lead-late-b99-377348651.html

CITY OF WAUKESHA REVISES GREAT LAKES WATER PLAN – The City of Waukesha would receive up to an average of 8.7 million gallons a day of Lake Michigan water by midcentury — down 13.86% from its earlier request — to serve a smaller area proposed by Great Lakes officials reviewing the city’s plan for lake water. Waukesha had asked to pump up to an average of 10.1 million gallons a day by 2050, but city officials revised the volume this week after regional officials moved to redraw the service area without portions of three neighboring communities included in the city’s request. Revised service area maps and findings in support of the request were posted on a website — www.waukeshadiversion.org — by the Conference of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers. “It appears that we’re approaching a workable solution for residents of the city,” Waukesha Water Utility General Manager Dan Duchniak said Thursday. http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/great-lakes-officials-outline-smaller-waukesha-service-area-b99715009z1-377442571.html

CLEAN WATER CRISIS THREATENS US – The United States is on the verge of a national crisis that could mean the end of clean, cheap water. Hundreds of cities and towns are at risk of sudden and severe shortages, either because available water is not safe to drink or because there simply isn’t enough of it. The situation has grown so dire the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence now ranks water scarcity as a major threat to national security alongside terrorism. Perhaps the single biggest threat to the water supply, experts say, is the nation’s aging infrastructure. Across the country, water is flowing through pipes that are long past their expiration date. Some of the oldest pipes still in use, built from cast iron in the late 1880s, were expected to last about 120 years. Newer pipes, built during the post-World War II boom, were designed to last about 75 years. http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/277269-a-nation-over-troubled-water

FIXES COME SLOWLY FOR GROWING LIST OF IMPAIRED LAKES AND STREAMS – Environmental regulators say they are making strides in controlling runoff of farm manure and fertilizer that are the state’s most prevalent polluter of lakes and streams. But each year, as more bodies of water are monitored and standards are written with greater precision, the state is finding hundreds of additional waters so high in phosphorus that swimming, fishing and boating are being limited due to weeds, algae and other problems. The federal government began requiring states to regularly update their lists of impaired waters in 1998, but it has set no hard deadline for cleanups, saying only that states could take eight to 13 years to determine the sources of pollutants and how much they should be reduced. The system moves so slowly that cottage owners around one impaired northern Wisconsin lake dug into their own pockets two years ago and paid a consulting firm $200,000 to conduct the scientific study the state would have done. http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/environment/fixes-come-slowly-for-growing-list-of-impaired-lakes-and/article_3a91a5c5-7458-5ab7-9242-989798f1c367.html

SHAREHOLDERS CHALLENGE PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY TO TAKE BACK UNUSED DRUGS – Citing the lack of free, accessible programs for disposal of prescription drugs in contributing to the U.S. painkiller abuse epidemic, 23 shareholder groups with more than $50 billion in assets have asked 10 of the largest pharmaceutical companies to develop policies on industry responsibility for take back of unused and expired drugs. The lack of convenient programs for proper disposal of prescription drugs and accessories such as needles and syringes contributes to water pollution, illicit drug use, drug addiction, and threats to sanitation workers. Drug overdose now is the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S.  Overdoses from prescription pain medications killed more than 16,000 Americans in 2013. “Shareholders are concerned that the U.S. pharmaceutical industry does not have a policy or plan for collection and processing of expired and unused prescription medications,” said Conrad MacKerron, Senior Vice President at As You Sow, which organized the corporate engagement effort. http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/shareholders-challenge-pharmaceutical-industry-to-take-back-unused-drugs-300255076.html

THREE NORTHERN WISCONSIN COMMUNITIES RECEIVE STATE BROWNFIELDS AWARDS – Communities in Clark, Lincoln and Rusk counties will make good use of three Department of Natural Resources brownfields awards to help assess contamination at two former wood-processing plants and a former creamery. The awards consist of contractor services for the projects, and are valued up to $18,000 each. The services will be used to determine soil and groundwater conditions at the former Owen Manufacturing wood processing plant in Clark County; the former Hurd Manufacturing facility in Merrill (Lincoln County); and at the former Sheldon Creamery in Rusk County. “Years of manufacturing and production have come to an end at these once-thriving businesses,” said Christine Haag, chief of the DNR Brownfields Section. “Now it’s time to clean up these properties and find another use for them. These awards will help get that redevelopment process started.” http://dnr.wi.gov/news/Weekly/?id=534#art5

NOT SO SWEET: FAKE SUGAR FOUND AT SEA – Fake sweeteners may seem like a good calorie-saving substitute for sugar. But researchers in Europe have now found traces of one of these sweeteners at five sites in the North Sea. That might be a problem, they warn. What makes the fake sugar helpful for waistlines, they say, could be bad for the environment. The findings deal with sucralose. Sucralose is sold under the brand name of Splenda. Many people and food companies use it to sweeten such things as desserts, breads and sodas. Sucralose is a diet aid because the human body doesn’t break it down and use it to fuel activities. Instead, the body excretes it in urine and feces. Once flushed down the toilet, sucralose heads to water-treatment plants. These facilities are designed to remove pollutants from wastewater. But they aren’t great at removing the fake sugar. One study found that at least 98 percent of sucralose in water gets through such treatment plants. That allows it to pollute streams, groundwater — even drinking water. https://student.societyforscience.org/article/not-so-sweet-fake-sugar-found-sea

20th ANNUAL WRWA GOLF OUTING– This event will be held on May 18, 2016 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 http://www.wrwa.org/golf-outing/

QUOTE – “Pity the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” –  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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“For information on WRWA Corporate Gold member benefits and other advertising opportunities, contact Renee at rkoback@wrwa.org.”

David Lawrence
WRWA Executive Director
(715) 344-7778

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