DNR Board Approves E. Coli Water Regulations

Board Also Approves Hearings To Help Establish PFAS Standards

The state Natural Resources Board has unanimously approved new regulations changing the way the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources measures bacterial contamination in waterways.

The DNR currently uses fecal coliform to determine contamination levels that might be harmful to public health. But the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recommended using E. coli levels to determine the risk of illness for people swimming or recreating in waters.

Marcia Willhite, the agency`s water evaluation section chief, said the switch is needed to remain eligible for federal beach grants used by local governments to monitor pollution from a variety of sources. She said those include potential discharge from treated sewage and animals. 

"It’s an ongoing challenge and that`s why local communities really do rely on these funds," she said.

The new regulations will also mean changes for some wastewater treatment plants.

"We also require that wastewater treatment plants that are discharging water into waterbodies that people recreate in to limit the bacteria in their discharge," she said.

Around 40 percent of the state`s 356 treatment plants might have to increase disinfection under the new criteria. The DNR estimates that will cost them around $2 million each year, but the agency said financial assistance will be available. ...


Ken Notes: So 142 communities need to spend 2 million per year, Yet CAFO`s get a free pass even though they spread directly onto fields and into watersheds? I strongly suggest the cities ask that there be equity in this ruling.

- - Volume: 7 - WEEK: 44 Date: 10/28/2019 8:43:51 AM -