So it’s likely Trump will replace Robert Kaplan, the interim regional administrator of the EPA Chicago office who last summer sent a team of investigators to review water pollution permit files in the state Department of Natural Resources office in Madison, said Tressie Kamp, an MEA attorney. Kaplan also spearheaded months of public discussions that resulted in detailed recommendations for keeping dairy manure out of water as well as a plan for supplying emergency water to Kewaunee County, where one-third of test wells have been tainted with hazardous bacteria from animal waste.
"He criticized a measure where the Department of Environmental Protection would not have a citizens board to help guide policy. Meyer said it would shut off an avenue of input if the public is not pleased with the direction of the department. Meyer said land management under the new regime would lack continuity, with agencies such as agriculture and tourism suddenly moving into new areas without expertise. While Jarchow's plan calls for no new spending, Meyer pointed to an analysis by the Fiscal Bureau showing that costs could rise in time as positions are reclassified and salaries spike upward. The concept of two bureaucracies leads to higher costs, Meyer said. "And with two agencies, you have different priorities," he said."
Kimberlee Wright, executive director of Midwest Environmental Advocates, an environmental law center, works closely with DNR engineers and scientists to review and comment on pollution permits for activities such as wastewater disposal and groundwater pumping under the Clean Water Act. In the past, Wright says, the process was typically straightforward, and she and colleagues were routinely able to hammer out permits that followed the technical requirements of the law.
Farm runoff standards are set to be tightened in Wisconsin, so state officials want to hear from the public about the proposed changes.
The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection will hold four public hearings in January on the changes to the rule known as ATCP 50, with the changes precipitated by changes to the USDA's nutrient management standard.
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources leaders on Wednesday announced a sweeping reorganization aimed at providing relief to overburdened workers in its troubled water quality program and making state parks and wildlife management more efficient. George Meyer, a former DNR secretary who directs the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, said some of the changes could prove helpful, but the ailing DNR needs more employees, not a reorganization, Meyer said. The DNR has come under fire from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for deficiencies in Clean Water Act enforcement and by the audit bureau for failing to conduct timely inspections of large dairy operations or adequately review manure spreading plans or annual compliance reports.
The Homestead Park well has had nitrate levels above safe drinking water standards for six years. During this timeframe, the well/drinking fountains have been closed to the public and bottled drinking water has been purchased for full-time and seasonal park staff. The Homestead well was constructed in 2002. At the time every precaution was taken to avoid nitrate contamination, the well is 325 feet deep, is 10-inches wide with a 6-inch casing going down 313 feet, the cavity between the well and casing is grouted to 303 feet.
While festering in these lagoons, liquefied animal waste often leaches into the groundwater, contaminating neighboring wells and rendering water unsafe for humans and farm animals. When CAFOs spread their waste onto fields, that waste frequently runs off into waterways. The resulting overload of nutrients causes rapid algae growth, which depletes the water of oxygen and kills large numbers of fish and other aquatic life.