Saturday, January 16, 2016

Learn about bad water in Flint, MI - - and in WI

National attention and law enforcement are now focused on the poisoned drinking inflicted by local and state officials on Flint, Michigan, population 99,000.

And without minimizing that outrage, it's important to understand that drinking water in Wisconsin which contains harmful nitrate contamination is routinely permitted for about the same number of state residents in rural areas through lax, inefficient and thoughtless state action.

Kevin Masarik, a Wisconsin groundwater expert, puts the number of rural wells providing nitrate-contaminated water at one in 10. He is speaking Monday evening in Madison about these issues:

“Nitrates in Wisconsin’s Groundwater: What, Why, and Where?”
January 20 - 7:00PM - 8:15PM  
UW Biotechnology Center, 425 Henry Mall, Room 1111,  Madison, WI 53706 
Some more data and information:

*  A recent, comprehensive report put the number of Wisconsin people exposed to unsafe levels of nitrates in their drinking water at 94,000, with trends going in the wrong direction:

According to state estimates, nitrate is at unsafe levels in an estimated 94,000 Wisconsin households. One in five wells in heavily agricultural areas is now too polluted with nitrate for safe drinking, according to data from the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection...
“Nitrate that approaches and exceeds unsafe levels in drinking water is one of the top drinking water contaminants in Wisconsin, posing an acute risk to infants and women who are pregnant, a possible risk to the developing fetus during very early stages of pregnancy, and a chronic risk of serious disease in adults,” according to the 2015 Wisconsin Groundwater Coordinating Council report to the Legislature. 
The multi-agency council also reported that nitrate — one of the most pervasive groundwater contaminants in Wisconsin — is “increasing in extent and severity.”
*  Adding to the problem: lax regulatory efforts and dairy state loopholes: 
Despite these dangers, the law carves out a regulatory loophole so that private well owners with nitrate levels that could kill infants cannot qualify for financial assistance to get their wells replaced — unless the wells are used to water livestock.
DATCP photo
*  Water contamination in Wisconsin is state-enabled, as this October news story explained: 
An 87-page petition filed Tuesday by Madison-based Midwest Environmental Advocates asks the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to take action four years after the EPA put the state on notice that it needed to make immediate changes...
One of the petitioners, small farm operator Lynn Utesch, said 30 percent of private wells tested in Kewaunee County are tainted by E. coli, nitrates and other pollutants...
“The DNR has known about our problems for years, but they choose not to budget anything to actually look at our current situation here,” Utesch said. “They say they care about us, but they haven’t put one penny toward our drinking water...”
*  The Walker administration and its legislative allies have systematically cut back DNR staff, science, environmental inspections and enforcement.


Anonymous said...

New wells are not always the answer for rural areas with high nitrates or even bacteria. Sometimes the only answer is to install treatment. The well compensation fund can pay for treatment.

Humanities_excite said...

It may be Wisconsin's saving grace that hubris and fear of bad PR may motivate Walker to head off total disaster where our water is concerned. Then again, he may "punt" and forget to call off the state court judges, who appear to always side with Big Agriculture when residential wells are contaminated.

Anonymous said...

He is not going to do anything. I am sorry.

Todd Lohenry said...

Thanks for continuing to share content about the water crisis in Kewaunee County...