Long-suffering WI well water users from Kewaunee County -
|Previously-reported manure flow from a Kewaunee County farm|
- will not be surprised by a blockbuster report's data and conclusions:
Water atlas links water pollution to heavy fertilizer use in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin
The water atlas confirms previous [Environmental Working Group] investigations revealing that drinking water nitrate contamination is a serious and worsening problem. In the four states, 86 percent of the water systems contaminated with nitrate levels at half or more of the federal legal limit are located in counties where at least 70 percent of the cropland is fertilized.
But I hadn't realized we were part of outsourcing this nasty blend of 'Midwestern Nice' from the US South to the Gulf of Mexico:
Nitrogen and phosphorus runoff from agriculture in [Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois] is the primary cause of a notorious annual hypoxic zone off the coasts of Louisiana and Texas. During the summer, that part of the Gulf of Mexico is effectively dead, with
And then I remember this as recently as 2018:
Dead zones in Green Bay show signs of lasting longer, raising long-term questions
The challenge: Industry and municipal wastewater systems have made big cuts in pollutants that have fed the dead zone. But the lion's share of runoff pollution comes from farms, which face less regulatory pressure to cut back.
"We are definitely moving in the right direction, but it’s still going to be a pretty big lift," said Kevin Fermanich, a professor of environmental science and geoscience at UW-Green Bay. He did not participate in the study.