Monday, September 9, 2013

As Wisconsin Is Set To Give Away More Groundwater...

Through weak DNR oversight of frac sand mines and industrial-sized dairies and legislatively-enabled open-pit iron ore mining in the Bad River watershed (water experts barred), guess who's holding a chat on Groundwater Protection Day, Tuesday? Your DNR, it says:

Live chat and annual report highlight Groundwater Protection Day, Sept. 10

MADISON – Wisconsin citizens can join in a live chat and read a new report about groundwater quality and quantity in Wisconsin as the state marks national Protect Your Groundwater Day Sept. 10.

“Seventy percent of Wisconsin residents rely on groundwater for their drinking water supply, and maintaining clean, safe groundwater is essential for a healthy Wisconsin,” says Dr. Henry Anderson, State Health Officer with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
Mary Ellen Vollbrecht, who leads the Department of Natural Resources groundwater section, says that Groundwater Protection Day, promoted by the National Groundwater Association, “is a great time to learn more about our groundwater and how we can all help protect a resource critical for healthy families, a healthy environment and a healthy economy.”

“We invite people to join our live chat to get their questions answered, to read through the latest Groundwater Coordinating Council annual report, and to take steps around their home to help protect groundwater,” Vollbrecht says.

The live chat on groundwater, private wells and public drinking water supplies is set for noon on Sept. 10; participate on that day by visiting and look for the box on the right to enter the chat, or search the phrase "ask the experts."

People also can join the conversation via DNR’s Facebook page and by clicking the Cover it Live Chat” box at the top.

People can learn more about current groundwater conditions in Wisconsin from the recently released 2013 annual report from the Wisconsin Groundwater Coordinating Council. The council, or GCC as it’s often called, includes representatives from state agencies and the University of Wisconsin system and is responsible for ensuring that the state’s groundwater research and policies are coordinated and cost-effective and that state agencies provide consistent communications with the public.

The annual GCC report provides the current status of groundwater quality and quantity for Wisconsin, an assessment of the groundwater management programs, addresses current and anticipated groundwater problems, and recommends actions for addressing those problems.

Protecting a critical resource for people, the environment and the economy

Groundwater users capable of withdrawing 100,000 gallons a day are required to report their use. In 2011, groundwater withdrawals reported to DNR totaled 213 billion gallons from 11,754 wells.

The largest category of groundwater withdrawals was public water supply, accounting for 42 percent of the total statewide groundwater withdrawals [PDF]]. The second largest category of groundwater withdrawal in the state was agricultural irrigation accounting for 35 percent of statewide groundwater withdrawals.

Steve Ales, who leads DNR’s private water section, says that owners of private wells can make a difference in their water quality by how they manage their well systems and septic systems, by properly managing hazardous wastes, and by conserving water.

People who use municipal tap water also can help protect groundwater quality by properly managing hazardous wastes, maintaining their septic systems properly if they have one, conserving water, and advocating with local officials to safeguard municipal wells by being careful about the land uses surrounding those wells.
People using private wells:
For those on public water supplies:
Things everyone can do:
More information on groundwater and drinking water can be found on the DNR website,, by searching for “drinking water” and on the DHS Water Issues Website: (exit DNR).

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Roy Irving, DHS, 608-266-2104; Mary Ellen Vollbrecht, DNR, 608-266-2104


Boxer said...

Those helpful hints can be filed under "NSS" for No-Shit, Sherlock.

In an already uber-ironic posting, here's more irony to mull over: WisDNR's latching onto National Groundwater Day (or week, whatever), a feel-good, meaningless "Day" cooked up by the National Groundwater Association, an group of water utilities and the companies that sell stuff to them. Of course, the Water Lovers at NGA will be thrilled for you private well and septic folks to curtail your water use and protect water quality: More for us to sell back to you! Or at least to our public water customers.

The cutesy copy confuses public system users and private well and septic owners: if you're getting water from your local municipality, chances are very, very good that you're hooked up to sewer as well.
Unless you live in the Town of Jackson. When the residents whose wells were poisoned by the gas pipeline leak begin receiving city water, they shouldn't have to be as meticulous about their septic maintenance. Thanks to the carelessness of West Shore Pipe Line, the groundwater under their yards and homes has already been rendered toxic; it will matter little if some fecal bacteria falls into the toxic stew. It will be unusable for decades. (You can bet West Shore will follow the leads of Exxon in Prince William Sound and BP in the Gulf and begin backing away from financial responsibility soon.)

People on private wells and septic systems generally are more acutely aware of the need to keep groundwater healthy and to take proper care of septic systems, as supply and discharge are usually quite close together, and the homeowner is on the financial hook to fix any problems. Private well and septic owners worry much more about public utilities drilling high capacity wells nearby that draw down well levels, or road expansions and new developments paving over the wetlands that store, protect and cleanse groundwater.

So pathetic that our state DNR, which formerly would develop its own groundwater programs and create its own celebrations is now so corporately owned and controlled that it has become a mere PR outlet for an industry association.

Anonymous said...

Waukesha needs to be involved in regional groundwater management rather than continuing to waste money on pr firms and ineffective stratigizers.