Rural Water E-News 7/05/2017

 RURAL WATER E-NEWS …………………………….……….….…………………………….7/5/17


STATE AWARDS $13.8 MILLION IN LEAD PIPE REMOVAL FUNDS– A total of 35 municipalities will receive a share of $13.8 million in federal money this fiscal year to remove lead pipes, Gov. Scott Walker’s office announced this week. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources established the two-year program last year to help communities replace lead pipes on private property.  Green Bay and Oshkosh each received $500,000. Clintonville, Fond du Lac, Manitowoc, Marshfield, Menasha, Sturgeon Bay, Sheboygan, Wausau and Wisconsin Rapids all received at least $300,000.  The city of Milwaukee received $2.6 million, the most of any community.  Thirteen million dollars in federal funding will be available in 2018. Walker’s office said 41 municipalities anticipate submitting applications for that federal money by Friday’s deadline.

MARSHFIELD WASTEWATER PLANT USES MICROBES TO CLEAN WATER– Treating wastewater from nearby residents, businesses and industry users of the sanitary sewer system is the mission of the Marshfield Wastewater Treatment Plant, said plant Superintendent Sam Warp during a June 21 water tour organized by Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin and UW Discovery Farms. Using the natural microbes in the waste, the facility is able to remove phosphorus, nitrogen and other nutrients from the waste before it is released into a local creek. The plant used a traditional flow system and, up until two years ago, used chemicals such as ferric chloride to treat the wastewater coming into the facility. “We had a vision two years ago to do something different, when we were spending $140,000 on ferric chloride,” Warp said. After some research and a few small adjustments at the plant, the facility made the switch to using naturally occurring bacteria and biology to remove nitrogen, phosphorus, organics and other contaminates from the wastewater. “On paper it shouldn’t work, but it works phenomenally,” Warp said.

INFORMATION FOR PUBLIC WATER SYSTEMS ON FLUORIDATION– The Wisconsin Oral Health Coalition (WOHC) has developed a website to provide information to community water systems and the public on the effects of community fluoridation. The website is called “Tap into Healthy Teeth” and was developed to raise public awareness on the safety and benefits of community water fluoridation among the general public, health professionals and water operators. This website provides comprehensive, evidence-based information and resources on community water fluoridation in Wisconsin. To visit the site, go to

MILWAUKEE LEAD PROPOSAL DRAWS CONCERN FROM DOCTORS, HEALTH DEPARTMENT– One alderman’s proposal to overhaul the city’s recommendations for avoiding lead exposure in drinking water is receiving a tepid response from the Milwaukee Health Department and some local medical experts. The resolution by Ald. Tony Zielinski would direct the Health Department to “immediately recommend that to avoid potential lead exposure, women of childbearing age and children under the age of 6 should not drink unfiltered water and that children under the age of 6 should be tested for lead.” It also calls on the Health Department to provide written recommendations to Milwaukee-area obstetricians, pediatricians and public and private health care facilities with the same guidelines. But John Brill, the former president of the Wisconsin Academy of Family Physicians, warned “this resolution would do more harm than good.” Brill said there was no scientific basis for extending the filtering advisory to all locations in the city and warned that as a result it could create mistrust between doctors and the Health Department.

MORE STATE OF WISCONSIN WORKERS LEAVING FOR OTHER JOBS – Workers left state government last year in numbers not seen in more than at least a decade, taking advantage of a tight labor market and the promise of better jobs in the private sector. With the economy and opportunities growing, nearly one in seven state workers left their positions for another job, retirement or other reasons, according to data released under the state’s open records law. More than one in three personal care aides for the elderly and disabled left their jobs last year. Wisconsin is not alone in seeing employees leave to take private-sector jobs, said Leslie Scott, executive director of the National Association of State Personnel Executives. “All states are experiencing it,” Scott said of the turnover. “A good portion of it, frankly, is compensation. States have just not been able to compete with the market.”

UNRESOLVED FLINT WATER CRISIS ALLOWING LAW FIRMS TO RAKE IN MILLIONS OF DOLLARS– Michigan’s legal bills for the man-made water crisis in Flint are piling up. At least $14 million has been spent hiring lawyers from at least 33 law firms, according to an Associated Press analysis of state records. Costs are only expected to balloon as Attorney General Bill Schuette’s outside team of two-dozen attorneys and investigators turns toward prosecuting a dozen current or former state employees or appointees whose criminal defenses are being covered by taxpayers. “The millions spent on legal fees could be used to save people from losing their homes and ensuring safe water for everyone,” said Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich.

FORMER WATER UTILITY EMPLOYEE GETS PRISON TIME FOR HACKING INTO METERING SYSTEMS– A former radio frequency technician was sentenced to one year and one day in prison for tampering with water utility metering systems this week. Adam Flanagan. 42, of Bala Cynwyd, Penn., was sentenced to prison time for hacking into the water meters of municipal utility systems all along the East Coast. Flanagan was ultimately sentenced to two counts of unauthorized access to a protected computer and recklessly causing damage, according to local news outlets in Philadelphia. Flanagan was previously employed by a company that made remote meter readers for utility systems. Upon his firing, he used his knowledge of the systems’ inner workings to wreak havoc on these systems. The meddling resulted in incorrect billing data and caused his former employer “a large amount of time” to investigate the problem, Metro reported. Flanagan was sentenced under enhanced sentencing guidelines because municipal water systems are considered critical infrastructure under the law.

QUOTE– “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.”- Red Adair

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David Lawrence
WRWA Executive Director
(715) 344-7778