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Featured reader letter

Moratorium needed to protect drinking water
Kim Dupre

The St. Croix County Board is reviewing a moratorium on new or expanding industrial farms due to concerns over water quality in our country.

Recently, three additional families in Emerald township are without access to safe drinking water. More and more families and businesses are finding dangerous levels of nitrates and/or fecal bacteria in their well water in eastern St. Croix.

Even the county's Homestead Park near Somerset has a well contaminated with excessive nitrates. It's been closed for six years.

The County just devoted over $70,000 to fix or replace the wells at both Homestead and Glen Hills parks due to failed attempts the past few years to remove contamination.

While Iowa has a Rural Water option and Minnesota has a robust Well Dispute Settlement Program, Wisconsin lacks in assistance to families who — through no fault of their own — lose access to clean drinking water.

Groundwater quality affects everyone. All St. Croix residents get drinking water from groundwater, including municipal water systems. At times, even water treatment plants have difficulty meeting health standards, as a recent Iowa Supreme Court case revealed.

While landowners have the liberty to do with their property as they wish, the water beneath that land and the air above that land belong to all of us. As Kewaunee County (near Green Bay) learned, some landscapes cannot absorb as much nutrients (manure) as others. We should learn from them as we have similar bedrock.

On Dec. 6, our St. Croix County Board will consider this moratorium on new or expanding industrial farms until further surface/groundwater studies are conducted and precautions implemented.

Contact your County Board supervisor. Ask the person to be proactive and support this moratorium.