Friday , 21 October 2016

September 28, 2016 E-News

WISCONSIN DNR LOOKS TO EXPAND CAFO PERMIT STAFF – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources wants to move four full-time staff to regulating concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs. In their 2017-19 biennial budget request, the DNR proposes increasing staff dedicated to the CAFO program from 17 to 21 by reallocating positions. The agency declined an interview for this story, but their request cites significant growth in the number of CAFOs in the state, with around 285 permitted CAFOs currently operating.  The department said the move would also improve “responsiveness to public concerns about health and water quality impacts.” Environmental advocates in the state praised the department for addressing the issue.

NATIONAL PREPAREDNESS MONTH – September is National Preparedness Month! Take action today to prepare your utility for emergencies. This week’s focus is Climate Change. Drinking water and wastewater utilities can take steps to adapt to the increasing frequency and severity of extreme weather events. The Climate Resilience Evaluation and Awareness Tool (CREAT) is a climate risk assessment and planning application for water, wastewater, and stormwater utilities. Use CREAT to understand the impacts of climate change, assess adaptation options, and conduct cost-benefit analyses of risk reduction strategies. For more information go to

EPA TO INSPECT DNR RECORDS IN MADISON – Federal environmental regulators will be inspecting state Department of Natural Resources records in Madison the week of Oct. 10 after an environmental group petitioned federal regulators to more closely monitor water pollution programs in Wisconsin. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency personnel will review DNR files as part of claims in October 2015 by Midwest Environmental Advocates and a group of citizens that officials have not adequately implemented environmental regulations. The petition for corrective action is a check on how states administer pollution discharge programs. It allows citizens to ask the EPA to investigate states to determine if there are systematic problems.

DRUG-RESISTANT BUGS FLOURISH IN AMERICA’S AGING WATER SYSTEMS – The thousands of miles of aging, corroding pipes that bring water to Americans each day may be home to dangerous drug-resistant bacteria, a new report warns. These harmful bacteria include legionella, which causes Legionnaires’ disease; pseudomonas, which can trigger pneumonia; and mycobacteria, which can cause tuberculosis and other illnesses, the researchers said. While these bacteria thrive in many environments, they “can [also] live in the pipes; they can survive on tiny amounts of nutrients found in water,” explained lead researcher Dr. Jeffrey Griffiths, a professor of public health and medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. Overall, his team’s analysis of 100 million Medicare records found that between 1991 and 2006, more than 617,000 older Americans were hospitalized after falling ill from infection with these three common bacteria — which are often found in plumbing.

UPCOMING CLOSURE OF OSCAR MAYER PLANT MEANS STEEP LOSS FOR MADISON WATER UTILITY – With the shutdown of Madison’s Oscar Mayer plant nearing, jobs aren’t the only thing drying up on the East Side The Madison Water Utility reported Thursday that Oscar Mayer’s water usage is down 24 percent this year through August compared to the same period in 2014, costing the utility $172,000 so far this year.  Oscar Mayer is water utility’s biggest user by far, utility spokeswoman Amy Barrilleaux said, accounting for 2.8 percent of its total revenue. While companies come and go, Barrilleaux said, Oscar Mayer is “a little bit special” because of its high water use. Despite the drop-off in usage, Barrilleaux said she foresaw no immediate impact on the utility’s services. “Currently we are absorbing the revenue losses,” she said.

UPDATED WISCONSIN LAND COVER MAPPING PROJECT BREAKS NEW GROUND – A new and modernized view of Wisconsin’s land cover is now available to the public for use in multiple ways including forest management, conservation and urban planning and particularly in providing effective customized habitat and deer management plans for as many landowners as possible. The two year Wiscland 2.0 (2-point-0) project combines ground level mapping, satellite imagery, and USDA data in a product produced jointly by the Wisconsin Department of Natural resources (DNR), UW-Madison and the State Cartographer’s Office. The goal of Wiscland 2.0 was to map the current vegetation, water, and urban patterns for the entire state. Having a current land cover dataset is a critical element in research and establishing scientifically based management plans that can also be used by counties, municipalities and the public. Anyone can download the new and improved Wiscland 2.0 data from the DNR website. For further information on the Wiscland 2.0 project, go to SCO Project: Statewide Land Cover.

QUOTE“The most rewarding things you do in life are often the ones that look like they cannot be done” – Arnold Palmer

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David Lawrence
WRWA Executive Director
(715) 344-7778


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