Another Wonderfully Revealing Email From The DNR

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Daily Show is on hiatus this week, but I'd swear that host and straight man extraordinaire Jon Stewart has shape-shifted himself during the program's break into a Wisconsin DNR manager with email access and some staff ideas to gather.

Let me set the stage:

The DNR has been absolutely clobbered of late over its kid-gloves treatment of a septic system hauler who spread too much human waste over Jefferson County land near residential and farm wells.

You'd have had to be unconscious this month to have missed what began in The State Journal, migrated to blogs, and led to local residents outrage over the event and the DNR's response to it.

Said the effected area's local paper:
I believe this is an outrage, plain and simple," said Scott Michalak, who is candidate for the 38th state Assembly District.

The outrage was sparked by a May 6 Wisconsin State Journal report that Governor Scott Walker's chief environmental appointees put as many as 40 families at risk of drinking water contaminated with human waste to help a political donor.

According to the staff memorandum requesting referral to the Justice Department, Herr Environmental's records showed the company might have spread human waste on Jefferson County farmfields - Concord among them - in 2009 at three times the levels allowed by its permit.

The fields on which the Oconomowoc company spread excessive waste are adjacent to about 30 residences in a rural Jefferson County subdivision, as well as five neighboring farms. About 40 drinking water wells are nearby, according to DNR documents.

Wastewater specialist David Bolha, the lead investigator, has said he and other agency staff feared potential threats to public health, including possibly dangerous levels of nitrates in wells. Elevated nitrates levels can cause a potentially fatal blood disorder in infants called blue-baby syndrome...

Town Chairperson Bill Ingersoll reiterated part of Michalak's remarks, saying that the board's focus right now is the people.

"We have to decide whether there is immediate danger to your drinking water," said Ingersoll.
OK: With the issue of pollution potentially seeping into residents wells through the soil creating an uproar on the ground in Jefferson County, and in the media statewide, consider the stunning ironies in an internal email Wednesday at 9:30 a.m.  - - I've gotten these copied to me before - -  but time I promised I'd paraphrase rather than block-quote/edit-paste the information it so I won't get anyone in trouble.

The essence of the email was management's interest in soliciting, by May 30th, some suggestions from staffers - - tags on emails, for example - - and also including topics for a new, Myth Busters area on the DNR's website come next month.

Staffers would provide a myth to a supervisor and the facts so people could understand the environment.

And what was the example cited?

Myth: Wisconsin well water comes via Canada.

Fact: Wisconsin well water comes from rain or snow landing on the land around one's community or property.

Which is precisely what people living in and around the Town of Concord where the human waste was spread are worried and complaining about.


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