Wednesday , 25 April 2018

October 18, 2017 E-News

JUDGE THROWS OUT INDUSTRIAL WELL PERMITS SCIENTISTS SAID WOULD HARM PUBLIC WATERS– A Dane County judge has thrown out eight high-capacity well permits the state granted to businesses despite warnings from its own scientists that the massive water withdrawals would harm vulnerable lakes, streams and drinking water supplies. Circuit Judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn ruled that the permits ran afoul of a constitutional provision requiring state government to protect water for the public. “This Court is bound by nearly 120 years of precedent and a long rich history in the State of respecting the Wisconsin Constitution and its fundamental protection of the waters of the State for the enjoyment of all,” Bailey-Rihn wrote in a decision she issued Wednesday. She was ruling in a lawsuit the conservation group Clean Wisconsin filed a year ago after examining permits the state Department of Natural Resources issued after a policy change it made in June 2016 under pressure from industrial well users and elected Republicans who control state government.

WETLAND DEVELOPMENT BILL WOULD REVERSE 2001 BIPARTISAN ACTION– The leader of an environmental group said a proposal that would make it easier to develop on Wisconsin’s isolated wetlands will reverse bipartisan action lawmakers took after a 2001 U.S. Supreme Court decision. In a 5-4 decision known as Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, justices ruled the Clean Water Act doesn’t extend to isolated wetlands that provide habitat for endangered species or migratory birds.  Not long after the 2001 court decision, Wisconsin’s Legislature affirmed the state would continue its protection of isolated wetlands, one of the few state’s in the nation to continue protection. Isolated wetlands are those that are considered not part of a body of water like a lake or river. Wisconsin has 5.5 million acres of wetlands and about 20 percent are considered isolated wetlands.

ADMINISTRATOR PRUITT ISSUES DIRECTIVE TO END EPA “SUE & SETTLE”– In fulfilling his promise to end the practice of regulation through litigation that has harmed the American public, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt issued an Agency-wide directive today designed to end “sue and settle” practices within the Agency, providing an unprecedented level of public participation and transparency in EPA consent decrees and settlement agreements.
“The days of regulation through litigation are over,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.  “We will no longer go behind closed doors and use consent decrees and settlement agreements to resolve lawsuits filed against the Agency by special interest groups where doing so would circumvent the regulatory process set forth by Congress. Additionally, gone are the days of routinely paying tens of thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees to these groups with which we swiftly settle.”

CHIPPEWA COUNTY BOARD HEARS REPORT ON GROUNDWATER QUALITY– The quality of well water across Chippewa County is in good shape, but there are some areas of concern, according to a professor who has studied the water system for the past year. Kevin Masarik, groundwater specialist at UW-Stevens Point, gave a presentation to the Chippewa County Board on Tuesday about the condition and chemistry of ground water in the region. “Groundwater is never pure (water),” he said. “There are impurities as it moves through the soil.” The county contracted with Masarik in 2016 to analyze groundwater chemistry and see if there are areas of concern. Samples taken at 744 wells throughout summer 2016. The county surveyed 715 wells in 1985 and 800 wells in 2007. Nitrate and chloride levels have increased from 1985 to 2007, and again now to 2016, his report states. The percentage of wells above the drinking water standard for nitrates has increased from 12.3 percent in 2007 to 18.3 percent in 2016.

TRIBAL LEADERS, ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS URGE LAWMAKERS TO DROP MINING BILL– Another Wisconsin tribal leader is speaking against a pro-mining bill that’s moving through the Legislature. The measure would remove a 20-year-old requirement that owners of a proposed sulfide mine have to prove similar mines elsewhere haven’t caused problems before the state Department of Natural Resources could grant a permit. The current law is sometimes referred to as a “mining moratorium.” Menominee Nation Chairman Gary Besaw told a hearing held Friday by the Assembly Labor Committee that even financial amendments to the bill recently approved by a state Senate committee don’t ease his concerns.  

DANE COUNTY AND FARMERS PARTNER ON NEW INNOVATION TO CLEAN LAKES, CONFRONT CLIMATE CHANGE– Today, Dane County Executive Parisi and local farmers announced a new initiative that will help farmers reduce manure runoff into the lakes, improve farm productivity and decrease climate change emissions. As part of his 2018 budget, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi is allocating $200,000 to study the potential of creating a large-scale community facility where farmers could bring manure and have it composted. The finished product will be less prone to runoff and could be trucked to areas more in need of the nutrients found in manure. “People have composted grass clippings, leaves, and yard waste for years and now the science tells us composting manure creates a product that reduces runoff and carbon emissions while shrinking manure piles by 50 percent,” County Executive Joe Parisi said.  “Our farmers are our best partners in our community’s lake clean-up efforts.  Working with them to set up this time-honored practice on a bigger scale in the Mendota watershed is another innovative, effective approach at substantially decreasing algae growth in our lakes.”

WRWA WINTER OPERATIONS SEMINAR– Mark your calendars now to attend this annual event to be held on Wednesday, November 15th at the WRWA Technology Center in Plover. This year’s topics include presentations on locating facilities in snow & ice, pipe thawing, tips to prevent freezing in water tanks, hydrant & valve maintenance, GIS mapping, WWTP winter operations with 6-hours of water & wastewater CEC’s for attendance. For more information or to register for this seminar, go to

QUOTE– “Man- despite his artistic pretensions, his sophistication, and his many accomplishments- owes his existence to a six inch layer of topsoil and the fact that it rains.” – Paul Harvey

“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”


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