Wednesday, May 15, 2019

WI legislators' nitrates-contaminated water session set for 5/21

That on-again, off-again-on-again legislators' task force meeting about nitrate contaminated drinking water is on again for next Tuesday, May 21, at 10 a.m., in Room 300, Northeast State Capitol.

It is an informational meeting only, with a presentation from UW Extension Soils Professor Francisco Arriaga, and is not open for public questions or comments.

For the record, the WI DNR has published data about unsafe levels of nitrates in well water in Wisconsin since 1972. (PDF), with agricultural, non-naturally occurring sources, a potential factor.

The meeting delay reminds me of a working group I used to attend in Milwaukee from which a veteran attendee walked out saying, "call me when you're ready to do something." 

I hope the recent report about nitrate-contaminated well water in Southwest Wisconsin adds urgency to the task force schedule and strategy.
SW Wisconsin joins NE Wisconsin and the Central Sands where people are drinking dirty, dangerous water, according to this WisEye report:
On May 8, the Speaker's Task Force on Water Quality met in Lancaster, Wisconsin and heard a presentation from Joel Stokdyk, U.S. Geological Survey Biologist, on the results of 301 private wells sampled in November 2018 in Iowa, Grant and LaFayette Counties... 
Results showed 34 percent positive for total chloroform, 4 percent positive for E. coli and 16 percent had high nitrate contamination. Considering the results together revealed 42 percent of contaminated private wells across the three counties which generally exceeded the statewide averages.
Watch the full program:

With regard to urgency - - the task force was announced on Feb. 11 - - this from December:
Infant's death, contaminated water, eligible for WI legacy scorecards

And this, from January:

Nancy Utesch guest post: Kewaunee, others long overdue for clean water 

Data show what people in Kewaunee County and the Central Sands region who live near the industrial-scale Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs, already know: 
Their drinking water is contaminated.
From Utesch, after years of petitions to government.
Without real investigations, will we ever know the full extent and costs from the illness and suffering resulting from agribusiness here? 
Why has it taken this long?
We have waited long enough. 
Runoff from an animal feeding operation in Kewaunee County.

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