Scientists are one step closer to understanding how dangerous contaminants from fecal matter are entering private wells in Kewaunee County. New research by U.S. Department of Agriculture microbiologist Mark Borchardt shows nitrate and coliform in the water mostly comes from agriculture — and not human waste.
“Where we see the strong relationships, the strong linkages, those are with agricultural factors. So that would suggest that agriculture is primarily responsible for those two contaminants,” he said in an interview
Borchardt’s study found that the No. 1 risk factor for contamination was the proximity of a well to a manure storage pit. Borchardt said the closest well in the study was 150 feet from a manure pit, but even wells three miles away still have some risk of being contaminated with coliform.
Now, to the question of the day:
Do you expect genuine, comprehensive action from Vos’ hand-picked, Republican-heavy task force if there are five appointees who signed that letter for the federal waiver from phosphorous-pollution rules – – including the Vis-Designated chairman, among its 13 GOP members?
Matching up the task force membership, here, with the signatories to the water waiver letter here – – and props to the Wisconsin State Journal for publishing the names in a sidebar – – find these overlapping Vos appointees:
GOP State Reps Robert Brooks, Mary Fetzkowski, Andre Jacque, Travis Tranel and chairman Tod Novak.
Those five alone outnumber the task force’s three Democrats.
You could call that the implications of divided government.
Or you could call out special-interest water carrying when you see it, like this 2016 summary wherein Vos and his GOP allies make their appearances :
Just to give an approximation for the purposes of visualization: A gallon of water weighs 8.36 pounds and a typical semi-tanker can hold about 6000 gallons of water legal weight for transport.
So after doing the math for 7 million gallons per day that would mean the equivalent of looking at over 1,100 semi tankers of water. Of course they’re not trucking it but it gives you an idea to visualize the magnitude. Every day.
As an example, if you went to park 1,100 semi tankers end to end they would stretch for over 14 miles. Looked at another way, if you jammed them all together with no space between them in the most compact parking area you would need a lot that is almost 4 miles by 4 miles or almost 16 square miles.
But serious objections to the diversion’s wisdom and legality under the Great Lakes Compact were raised by citizens at a public hearing earlier this month.
Additional objections across the Great Lakes region were mentioned in this non-partisan media report; I also wrote that some objections are amplified by Walker’s damage to Wisconsin’s environment and his debasement of the Department of Natural Resources – – the state agency which will review and can approve the Foxconn diversion application, all discussed here:
I’ve made the point earlier, as have activists and local residents, repeatedly, but these brief paragraphs towards the end of a news story summarizing the damage and deaths from last week’s heavy rains in Northwest Wisconsin….underscore the madness of proposing to Scott Walker’s “chamber-of-commerce-mentality” Department of Natural Resources the approval for a 26,000-hog feeding and manure storage operation within smelling and polluting distance of Lake Superior, Chequamegon Bay and numerous wells providing drinking water and economic life to the entire Northwoods region…
In a victory for this case, [Clean Water, Inc. and Lynda A. Cochart v. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources et al (Wisconsin Case No. 2015CV002633)], we are pleased to share the July 14, 2016 Circuit Court [Judge John W. Markson’s] decision that affirms the petitioners’ and partner organization Clean Wisconsin’s argument before the court that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ rejection of the Division of Hearings and Appeals’ Administrative Law Judge’s order to include animal unit limits and off-site groundwater monitoring of Kewaunee County CAFO was unlawful. This decision also describes how the Department of Justice’s narrow interpretation of Act 21 – that the DNR did not have explicit authority to impose these permit conditions – was incorrect and that state statutes do empower the DNR to require limits and monitoring of pollution in order for permitees to comply with state and federal clean water laws.
Meeting 300 miles from affected location —
“It just happened that the Lower Wisconsin Riverway Master Plan was ready for presentation to the board at the August meeting that was already scheduled for Ashland,” Dick said. “There have been similar reverse situations before where an NRB meeting was scheduled for Madison and items on the agenda were of concern for residents in other parts of the state.”
Last week’s major rains in Northwestern Wisconsin are sadly becoming more common, as there have been record floods in many areas of the state over the last 10 years (remember when I-94 was closed between Madison and Milwaukee for several days in 2008?). This makes it all the more critical to have drinking water kept clean and potential hazards such a manure runoff from CAFOs reduced.
“For the past six years, Michael Schnur and his family have been drinking bottled water.
Already concerned that pollutants from the coal ash landfill near his home in Sheboygan County might be leaching into his private well, Schnur became even more fearful last year when he received a letter from the state Department of Health Services. It warned that elevated levels of a little-known, unregulated element — strontium — were found in his drinking water.
In follow-up email correspondence, the DHS said the landfill was not impacting Schnur’s water and that strontium occurs naturally in the groundwater. Schnur was advised to install a water softener, which works by replacing minerals like calcium, magnesium and strontium with sodium…..”
In 2014, the village of Sussex in southeast Wisconsin made a dismaying discovery. The radioactive element radium, a contaminant that occurs naturally in bedrock throughout the region, had seeped into two of its seven water wells.
It was not exactly a surprise. Radium has long been a problem in drinking water for dozens of Wisconsin communities from Green Bay to the Illinois border….
I watched your entire performance on the floor. Suggesting we drill more HCWs (High Capacity Wells) to fill up dried-up lakes, such as Long Lake, to study the hydrology is ludicrous. There are 5 monitoring wells already in place around Long Lake, that could, and should, have been used to study the hydrology over the past few years, but NOTHING has been done with them. We don’t need to study the hydrology; all we need to do is take a drive around the perimeter of Long Lake, and the other Channel Lakes, and look at the proliferation of HCWs.
Experts, and even some regulators, say existing laws are failing to protect Wisconsin and the nation from harmful exposure to lead in drinking water that leaches from aging plumbing — a danger illustrated by the public health crisis in Flint, Michigan.
At least 176,000 so-called lead service lines connect older Wisconsin homes to the iron water mains that deliver municipal water, according to an estimate by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Milwaukee alone, where 60 percent of the state’s known lead-poisoned children live, has 70,000 lead service lines.