Wednesday , 29 March 2017

October 19, 2016 E-News

IS FRAC SAND MINING CAUSING METAL CONTAMINATION IN GROUNDWATER? – Three years ago, water samples from ponds at Wisconsin frac sand mines showed concentrations of heavy metals many times higher than state groundwater standards recommend. Now, the Department of Natural Resources is planning a study to see if the metal from those ponds is leaching from mines and polluting groundwater. But two similar studies are already underway aimed at better understanding what’s in the region’s water and the sand that’s mined there. Areas like a section of land outside the city of Arcadia where the Tunnel City and Wonewoc sandstone formations meet are especially rich in minerals containing heavy metals, according to Wisconsin Geological and Historical Survey geologist Jay Zambito. The minerals are what keep metals locked inside the rock formations, Zambito said. His theory is that when miners break the rock up, the minerals might dissolve.

FARMER-LED COUNCILS MAKING STRONG EFFORT TO CLEAN UP CHIPPEWA VALLEY WATERSHED – Water is a particularly valuable resource in the Chippewa Valley. Businesses such as Leinenkugel’s Brewery depend upon it, communities rely on the quality of the drinking water, and the city of Chippewa Falls went so far as to name its summer celebration Pure Water Days. Yes, water plays an extremely important role in our daily lives. However, protecting that valuable resource is not always easy, and often takes a coalition of people and organizations. That has been the case in rural Chippewa Falls, where the Little Lake Wissota Stewardship Project has been a shining example of how a community pulled together in the name of natural resource conservation.

MADISON MULLS INCREASING SEWER CHARGES FOR RESTAURANTS, COMMERCIAL KITCHENS – To align cost with use, Madison may raise sewer charges on restaurants and commercial kitchens, which would slightly lower bills for residential customers. The city’s Engineering Division is proposing a new billing class based on the composition of sewage from restaurants, commercial kitchens and retail food establishments with more than $25,000 in annual gross sales of food manufactured on site. A preliminary estimate suggests the charges would cost the city’s approximately 1,000 restaurants up to $1,000 annually, generating about $1 million a year, with the new revenue slightly lowering bills for the city’s 55,000 residential users. The so-called “food establishment rate class” would be phased in over three years. The increase is appropriate because effluent from those facilities contains levels of organic materials, nutrients and bacteria “significantly higher” than residential sewage, and costs more to treat at the wastewater treatment plant, city engineer Rob Phillips said.

DNR ANNOUNCES THE RECIPIENTS OF 2016-2017 MUNICIPAL FLOOD CONTROL GRANTS – Ten communities and one metropolitan sewerage district have been awarded municipal flood control grants from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.  Cities, villages, towns, tribes and metropolitan sewerage districts are eligible to apply for these grants, which fund the acquisition of property, vacant land, structure removal, flood proofing, administrative support and others. All projects are awarded for two years. This is the first year for a 50 percent match instead of a 70 percent match based on changes in the last state budget. The 2016-2017 list of grant recipients can be found at

SORTING OUT THE MINNESOTA BUFFER RULE – When you get anywhere near the Minnesota Buffer Initiative, you’re going find confusion and concern. The contentious initiative deals with the state’s water quality issues, addressing them by placing buffers on repairing areas on public waters. A public water is classified as anything larger than a two-mile drainage area, Walter said, and most are on private property. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, he said, went through all the mapping decades ago, but the mandate didn’t come down for buffers officially until April (it was signed into law in June 2015, but was amended by the Legislature and then signed by Gov. Mark Dayton on April 25, 2016). All public waters need a buffer with an average of 50 feet or a minimum of 30 feet. Implementation is required, by law, by Nov. 1, 2017.

HAITI RELIEF EFFORT NEEDS HELP – On October 4th, Hurricane Matthew made landfall on the southern coast of Haiti.  The country, still recovering from the 2010 earthquake, was dealt a devastating blow.  Parts were hit so hard by 140+mph winds and torrential rains that entire villages were leveled.  One of the cities hardest hit was Jeremie.  Project Agua’s partner, Friends for Health in Haiti, has a clinic in Jeremie and is doing their best to provide services to the residents.  But they need help and have asked Project Agua to assist. Project Agua is providing water purification supplies and will be assisting with the rebuilding of water and sanitation facilities.  Project Agua is a grassroots nonprofit organization that is all volunteer. To learn more about Project Agua go to  and to make a donation to the Haiti relief efforts go to .

QUOTE – “Elections are won by men and women chiefly because most people vote against somebody rather than for somebody.”- Franklin Pierce Adams

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