Evers wants nearly $70M in bonding to address water quality

Tony Evers will call for allowing state environmental and agricultural officials to borrow nearly $70 million more over the next two years to combat water pollution and replace lead pipes in his first state budget, following through on his pledge to attack drinking water contamination during his first year in office.
Evers is expected to unveil the full two-year spending plan on Feb. 28 but gave The Associated Press a broad preview of his water quality initiatives.
It’s unclear how the proposals will go over with Republicans who control the Legislature.
State agriculture officials would be allowed to borrow another $3 million over two years to fund grants to farmers for building infrastructure that reduces pollution from agriculture.
Evers also wants to spend an additional $300,000 on studies on water pollution management and implementing new manure-spreading restrictions the DNR enacted last year along Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan shoreline, where porous Silurian bedrock allows contaminants to seep into groundwater more easily.
"Increased funding for northeast Wisconsin’s (Silurian bedrock) areas would help farmers implement the new performance standards," she said in an email.
A November survey by the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Geological Survey found 42 percent of 301 randomly selected wells in Iowa, Grant and Lafayette counties exceed federal standards for bacteria.
Replacing a single line can cost thousands of dollars.
Evers pointed to the problems in his State of the State address last month, declaring 2019 the year of clean drinking water .
Republican reaction to Evers’ declaration in his speech was guarded.

Madison to step up testing for chemicals in drinking water

Lars Baron/Getty Images MADISON, Wis. – Madison water utility officials say they will step up testing for toxic chemicals that are spreading from contaminated soil and groundwater at Truax Air National Guard Base on the city’s north side.
The State Journal reports that fluorinated compounds from military firefighting foam have soaked into soil and shallow groundwater on the base.
Last year the chemicals turned up in low levels at a city well nearly a mile away.
The Air National Guard has known about the contamination for at least three years but hasn’t monitored its spread, so authorities aren’t sure if levels in the well water will rise to more dangerous levels.
Fluorinated compounds have been linked to serious health problems.
Madison Water Utility spokeswoman Amy Barrilleaux says the collection of monthly samples will begin in January.
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Think road salt won’t reach your drinking water? Ask Madison

When we toss down the road salt that’s ubiquitous with icy, snowy winters in the North, the salt doesn’t just disappear after it clears up the roads and sidewalks. In fact, it’s starting to get into drinking water in places across the Midwest and New England — posing an emerging threat to water supplies and a health risk for people on sodium-restricted diets or with high blood pressure. “The salt doesn’t just evaporate, it doesn’t break down. Once it’s applied in the environment, it’s got nowhere to go. It goes into the soil, or it goes into the lakes. It doesn’t just disappear,” said Joe Grande, the water-quality manager in Madison, Wis. • Road salt is polluting our water: Here’s what we can do to fix it Madison is one of the more notable cases of drinking water contamination by sodium chloride. Other instances have been reported in places like Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and parts of New Jersey — including one extreme case in the city of Brick, chlorides damaged lead water pipes, causing the toxic metal to leach into drinking water. Most people start tasting salt in water once it reaches concentrations of 250 milligrams per liter. Even before that point, though, water can start to taste off. Off-tasting water, and no good way off salt Faith Fitzpatrick lives in Madison’s Spring Harbor neighborhood. Her well has been among the hardest hit by road salt pollution. Some of her neighbors with low-salt diets have installed filtering systems in their homes….