Tuesday , 21 February 2017

September 7, 2016 E-News

CONFLICTS THWART REFORMS IN STATE WATER POLICY – This summer, the water in Long Lake is mostly gone, dotted by a few marshy areas. Cattails and grasses sprout from the former lake bed. Other traditionally shallow lakes in this region of sandy soil in the middle of the state have shared similar fates. They have become symbols of the tug-of-war over water use in Wisconsin. The advantage has shifted to large water users as the number of high-capacity wells have proliferated and efforts to put more limits on the use of groundwater have foundered. In a major policy shift, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said on June 10 that it will no longer place restrictions on high-capacity wells, or deny applications for new wells, by first evaluating the cumulative effect they could have on the ecosystem. A leading Wisconsin water scientist said the new approach is a step backward. http://www.jsonline.com/story/news/local/wisconsin/2016/09/04/conflicts-thwart-reforms-state-water-policy/89482796/

WHEEL TAX POPULARITY GROWS IN WISCONSIN – Motorists across Wisconsin are increasingly being required to pay more to maintain roads as cities and counties impose new fees known as wheel taxes to make up for lost state revenue. Wisconsin charges an annual vehicle registration fee for all vehicles, $75 for a passenger vehicle today. Cities, towns, villages and counties also can charge special registration fees dedicated to raising money to fund local transportation costs. The state has allowed those additional fees since 1967, but its use was sporadic until recently, as local governments increasingly look for ways to make up for state cuts. Thirteen of the 16 municipalities and counties that impose wheel taxes added them within the past two years, according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. http://www.wisconsinrapidstribune.com/story/news/investigations/2016/09/02/wheel-tax-popularity-grows-wisconsin/89593780/

TROUBLED MANURE DIGESTER’S NEW OWNER SAYS NEW CUSTOMERS ARE KEY TO FUTURE OPERATION – New owners of a manure digesting plant near Waunakee say they have improved the facility’s performance but a major challenge looms. Clean Fuel Partners vice president Jessica Niekrasz said finding new customers for natural gas produced by the digester will be key to its continued operation when Alliant Energy lowers the price it pays for the plant’s gas-generated electricity four years from now. But things look better than a year ago, when the previous owners faced scores of water and air pollution violations that culminated in a state lawsuit and an $80,000 fine. On Wednesday morning this week, the digester is scheduled to be open to the public as the new proprietors spread the word about their efforts to generate renewable energy and chip away at environmental degradation caused by dairy farms. http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/environment/troubled-manure-digester-s-new-owner-says-new-customers-are/article_8c8086cf-f004-59da-ab7d-a9ee30334251.html

GROUNDWATER COORDINATING COUNCIL REPORT REFLECTS IMPORTANCE OF STATE’S GROUNDWATER RESOURCES – Wisconsin’s groundwater resources play a critical role in human health and the economy and the 2016 annual report of the Groundwater Coordinating Council summarizes the state of these important resources. Nearly three-quarters of Wisconsin residents rely on groundwater as the primary source for their drinking water and the report aims to further public understanding of groundwater quality and quantity as well as the need for ongoing research into the factors that affect groundwater supplies. This year’s report encourages broader testing of private wells and notes areas of the state where progress is being made to reduce nitrate levels. http://dnr.wi.gov/news/releases/article/?id=4058

SEPTEMBER IS PREPAREDNESS MONTH IN WISCONSIN – It doesn’t matter if you are a child, an adult or senior, everyone should be ready for a disaster. That’s why Governor Scott Walker had proclaimed September as Preparedness Month. The campaign is encouraging Wisconsin families to prepare now before disaster strikes. “Preparing your family for the unexpected is as simple as having a conversation around the dinner table,” says Major General Don Dunbar, Adjutant General and Wisconsin’s Homeland Security Advisor. “Make sure you talk about what to do during an emergency and consider special needs of each family member.” When putting together your family emergency plan, make sure you have a contact list that contains current phone numbers of families and friends who could assist during an emergency. Also have medical information including contact information for your physician and a list of any medications or allergies. Carry a copy of the information in your wallet and have one in your disaster kit. For more information, go to http://readywisconsin.wi.gov/

EPA PROVIDES EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS TOOLS FOR UTILITIES – September is National Preparedness Month! Take action today to prepare your utility for emergencies. This week’s focus is Laboratory Support. When water contamination events occur, laboratories provide vital analytic services. Prepare for water contamination emergencies by connecting to a laboratory network. The Water Laboratory Alliance (WLA) is a nationwide network of laboratories that serves the water sector. Laboratories and utilities are encouraged to join the WLA. https://www.epa.gov/waterlabnetwork

ENBRIDGE PULLS PLUG ON PIPELINE – Enbridge Inc. said it is suspending plans to construct a pipeline across northern Minnesota after announcing almost a month ago it was investing in an alternative pipeline project that would avoid Minnesota and Wisconsin.  The Canadian company said Thursday that it has informed Minnesota regulators of its decision and asked to end a state review of the Sandpiper pipeline. The path of the pipeline would extend from the Bakken region of North Dakota through northern Minnesota and across 14 miles of Wisconsin before ending at a company terminal in Superior. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has not received a similar notification as Minnesota’s. But Ben Callan, a water regulation and zoning specialist with the agency, said Friday he spoke with Enbridge and expects the agency will also be notified the company is pulling out of Sandpiper in Wisconsin. http://www.jsonline.com/story/news/2016/09/02/enbridge-pulls-plug-pipeline/89783840/

QUOTE – “There’s no harm in hoping for the best as long as you’re prepared for the worst.”   ― Stephen King

“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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