Wisconsin Weekly: Climate change brings sewage overflows

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Sewage surge, deer disease, Great Lakes fluctuations, fundraising scrutiny, criminal justice split, refugee resettlement


Of note: This week we highlight a story by Danielle Kaeding of Wisconsin Public Radio in collaboration with Wisconsin Watch. She reports on how intensifying rain due to climate change makes it more difficult for communities to keep untreated sewage and stormwater out of the Great Lakes and other waters. Wisconsin in 2018 saw its most overflow events since 2010, including 1.2 billion gallons of Milwaukee-area wastewater that flowed into or near Lake Michigan. But the state’s largest city is not alone in grappling with the challenge.

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Danielle Kaeding / Wisconsin Public Radio

Jones Island Water Reclamation Facility, one of two treatment plants run by the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, is shown on Nov. 15, 2019. In 2018, the district saw six combined overflows — its most since 1999 — sending 1.2 billion gallons of stormwater and untreated sewage into Lake Michigan and a series of rivers, canals and a creek flowing into it.

As rains intensify, sewage surges into Wisconsin waters

Wisconsin Watch — January 11, 2020 

Wisconsin in 2018 saw its most sewage and stormwater overflow events since 2010, with increasing volumes of discharged waste, Department of Natural Resources data show. Experts say the problem plagues communities across the Great Lakes, a drinking water source for 48 million people in the United States and Canada.

Rich Kremer / Wisconsin Public Radio

Bucks are seen in one of the pens at the Wilderness Whitetails breeding farm in Rosholt, Wis. Fatal chronic wasting disease has spread among Wisconsin’s wild and captive deer populations since 2002. There have been no CWD-positive tests from this farm. Photo taken Sept. 9, 2018.

More than 100 cases of chronic wasting disease reported at state deer farms since 2018

WPR  — January 8, 2020

Wisconsin has seen more than 400 cases of chronic wasting disease at deer farms and hunting ranches since the disease was first detected in the state almost two decades ago. More than a quarter were reported over the last year.

Previously from Wisconsin Watch: CWD spreads on deer and elk farms as Wisconsin’s control efforts stumble

Third-party fundraisers can keep bulk of donations to public safety groups

Wisconsin State Journal — January 12, 2020

A handful of Wisconsin charitable groups representing firefighters and law enforcement members pocket the vast majority of the money they raise.

John Hart / Wisconsin State Journal

Dueling Republican, Democratic packages show bipartisanship on criminal justice reform fading

Wisconsin State Journal — January 15, 2020 

Republican lawmakers this week introduced a package of bills that would provide increased criminal penalties and likely expand both the adult and juvenile prison population. Less than a week before, Gov. Tony Evers and fellow Democratic lawmakers unveiled a package of criminal justice legislation taking a seemingly opposite approach.

Will Cushman / WisContext

Refugee resettlement in Wisconsin leveled off in 2019

WisContext — January 8, 2020

Following two years of steep drops, the number of international refugees who resettled in Wisconsin leveled off in 2019. In all, resettlement agencies helped 480 refugees find new homes and reunite with loved ones in the state over the course of 2019.

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