For those of our readers who live outside of Wisconsin, you probably aren’t aware of the issues in Kewaunee County. But clean water in a state known for its water and dairy farming in the state that proudly declares itself as America’s Dairyland has been butting heads for the last dozen years or so. I touched on this briefly in How The Dems Have To Run Locally In Wisconsin.

But the growth of factory farms in the area (Kewaunee County is in northeast Wisconsin, just south of Door County which separates Green Bay from Lake Michigan and is one of Wisconsin’s most popular vacation areas) and the porous bedrock that supports the local water table has resulted in manure runoff polluting thousands of private wells throughout the area. And of course Madison and even the Obama EPA did little to solve the issue.

So I guess it wasn’t so shocking to see the Huffington Post point to Kewaunee County as what we can expect nationally if President Trump does in the EPA as he seems bent on doing.

In rural Kewaunee County, Wisconsin, there are about five cows for every human resident. About half of those people rely on private wells for their drinking water.

Now it looks like the cows are polluting the water.

A 2015 analysis funded by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources found that more than one-third of the private drinking wells tested had levels of nitrates and coliform that exceeded health standards. Both of those contaminants are found in cow manure.

Environmentalists argue that the county’s wealth of dairy farms are largely to blame for its water woes. The state’s powerful dairy lobby has rejected that claim, pointing to septic tanks leaking human waste as another factor.

Regardless, Kewaunee County residents are eager for a solution to a problem that has been many years in the making. The fact that they’re still waiting may serve as a warning about what’s to come if an already underfunded Environmental Protection Agency gets hit with budget cuts from a hostile president.

And as I said earlier, even an Obama EPA wasn’t much help:

In 2011, farmer Lynn Utesch launched an advocacy group called Kewaunee CARES aimed at addressing water pollution. When its efforts failed to garner much of a response from local or state officials, the group partnered with a coalition of state and national environmental groups in 2014 to petition the EPA to intervene.

“The citizens of Kewaunee County have not seen any real action,” Utesch said. “The EPA has not actually come into our county to help out. No state agency has provided clean drinking water. Our government is not looking out for our people here.”

The EPA participates in a Department of Natural Resources committee considering changes to Wisconsin’s manure spreading requirements and continues to review the situation, the agency told HuffPost. It is also coordinating with the state Department of Natural Resources to implement the working group’s recommendations, which include revamped enforcement procedures for non-compliant dairy farms.

And they have no hope of any improvements, either from Washington or Madison:

But Utesch has little faith in future EPA action in Kewaunee, particularly given the drastic cuts the Trump administration has proposed for the agency.

“The way it looks right now, we might be waiting indefinitely for something to take place,” he said. “We may never see a response and that’s very disheartening to our population here. How long do we have to wait until we can have clean water for all our citizens?”

“I have no faith in the state of Wisconsin to do what’s right, unfortunately,” he said. “It will take someone with the courage to stand up and say we need to fix this. I don’t see anyone at the state or federal level who can do that.”

So this is disgusting…and Wisconsin should make the lists of best places to visit or start a business or attend college…it shouldn’t be nationally known as the state where your drinking water will make you sick…this isn’t a third world country…yet.

One Response to Kewaunee County WI: Poster Child for an EPAless Future!

  1. nonquixote says:

    Important website for those following Kewaunee and the rest of the state on water quality issues. “Citizens Advocating Responsible Environmental Stewardship”

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