water

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Milwaukee-based startup Solar Water Works and Veolia Water Milwaukee/OptiRTC, Inc. have been selected to participate in The Water Council's Pilot Deployment Program.

The Fund for Lake Michigan and MMSD have pledged $600,000 over the next two years to fuel the program that will give the startups the opportunity to test and validate their products in the real world.

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Milwaukee's harbor district appears to be a jumbled mix of old industrial buildings, ship docks, railroad tracks and a sewage treatment plant. But the City is brewing up a plan to transform the 1,000 water-edged acres.

Today, you see glimmers of transformation. An apartment building rising at 1st and Washington. Freshwater Plaza popping up, complete with grocery store and office space.

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A Marquette assistant professor has been making waves with his research into antibacterial chemicals commonly found in soap.

Over the last few months, two studies led by researcher Patrick McNamara were published.  

Study: TCC Influences Antibiotic Resistance, Regardless of Concentration 

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A water-related bill floating through the Legislature is causing waves. The measure would give lakefront property owners and developers more latitude to manage wetlands on their land and dredge their waterfront. Critics insist ecosystems and wetlands stand to suffer.  

Mary Knipper sits in her cozy no-frills cottage on Lake Delavan in western Walworth County. The registered nurse had a full career before she and her husband moved here year-round.

LaToya Dennis

The city of Flint is suffering a water crisis-- high levels of lead are leaching from old pipes into the water supply. The water has been deemed unsafe to drink, and some leaders are warning parents not to even bathe their children in it. 

President Obama’s administration has pledged more than $80 million dollars to help meet the city’s needs. Aid is arriving from across the country, and a concerned group will soon depart from Milwaukee.

Green Bay Press Gazette 2005

The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism issued a report on dangerous levels of arsenic in Wisconsin's water. Bradley Burmeister grew up in one of the most affected areas - Outagamie County.

His family lives two miles outside Seymour, Wisconsin – population 3,000, give or take.

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Hundreds of thousands of Wisconsin residents might be drinking tainted water. That report comes from the Center for Investigative Journalism. It conducted a yearlong investigation.

The findings indicate that private wells are more vulnerable than municipal water systems.

One-point-seven million Wisconsin residents rely on wells and private owners are responsible for their testing and maintenance.

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Roy Norton is Consul General of Canada in Chicago. Wisconsin is one of three states, along with Illinois and Missouri, in his purview.

This week the Consul General is visiting communities around Wisconsin. Much of his visit involves strengthening business ties between the state and Canada.

But Monday, Norton was in Milwaukee at the UW-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences, discussing another key issue – invasive species plaguing the Great Lakes.

Milwaukee Riverkeeper

The Wisconsin DNR is being accused of failing to comply with the Clean Water Act. Sixteen citizens are claiming that Wisconsin has had “long-standing water problems from poor implementation and enforcement” of the Act.

Tuesday, Midwest Environmental Advocates filed a request with the EPA demanding an investigation.

The DNR released a statement to WUWM saying:

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Before the Clean Water Act, what came out of wastewater pipes was essentially unregulated.

When Dave Fowler moved here decades ago to work for Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, the Milwaukee River was not a destination.

“Back in 1980, when I was on that river on a barge, I wouldn’t have wanted to eat my lunch out there. Now I’m seeing hundreds and hundreds of kayakers and boaters enjoying the downtown of Milwaukee because the river and the harbor is now considered a recreational opportunity, not an open cesspool,” Fowler says.

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The Clean Water Act sprang to life in 1972, largely due to public outrage. Lakes and rivers around the country had become increasingly toxic.

The Cuyahoga River in Ohio caught fire because of all the pollutants in it; nearby in Lake Erie massive numbers of fish died.

Wisconsin faced major obstacles. Engineer Lyman Wible worked with the Department of Natural Resources’ water resources team. He paints a bleak water quality picture statewide.

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In the 1960s, lining urban rivers with cement was considered to be state-of-the-art storm water management. But the practice  proved otherwise, in places like Milwaukee's south side where the Kinnickinnic River flows.

Over the years, during major storm events water has over-topped the concrete, causing damage and tragically, sometimes taking lives.

However, heaps of work and partnerships are going into naturalizing it. 

milwaukeeriverchallenge.com

The last two decades have been remarkable ones in the comeback of the Milwaukee River.  And while some of that comeback is in an environmental sense, right in the middle of the bigger picture of the river's comeback story was Gary Grunau.  Grunau spearheaded the redevelopment of Schlitz Park and the Riverwalk District.

Milwaukee Water Commons started up a year and a half ago. And, Melanie Ariens has played a pivotal role in the group's efforts to cultivate people’s desire to connect to and care for water.

As artist in residence, Ariens devised a way to amp up outreach. “I have the lucky job of people the creative, fun art person and I‘m also sort of a bike geek,” she explains.

Ariens set out to create a “rolling kiosk” by attaching a cart to the back of her bike. It’s big enough to hold a rain barrel – in fact it does.

Aedo Pultrone / Flickr

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fatal drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children ages 1 to 14.

Shockingly, 61 percent of children cannot perform basic swim safety skills according to a recent Red Cross survey. For adults who often supervise these children, eighteen percent of them fail to be competent swimmers themselves.

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