Kewaunee County Board passes resolutions related to water quality
KEWAUNEE – Water quality was on the mind of the County Board as it passed three related resolutions during its regular meeting Tuesday night.
One resolution called for support of state Senate Bill 137, which if passed at the state level would authorize the Wisconsin Department of Health Services to award grants of up to $2,500 to eligible private water well owners whose wells test for nitrates at more than 10 parts per million. It also would allow Heath Services to distribute as much as $500,000 to counties that apply to take part in a testing program, as a reimbursement for the costs involved.
The bill was introduced to the Senate earlier this year by Republicans Rob Cowles, Green Bay; Patrick Testin, Stevens Point; Howard Marklein, Spring Green; and Luther Olsen, Ripon. It's been co-sponsored in the Assembly as Bill 148 by 12 Republican representatives including Joel Kitchens of Sturgeon Bay.
The vote on the resolution was 19-1 with Sup. Daniel Olson voting "no". After the meeting, he said he voted that way because public dollars shouldn't be used for private well testing.
"A private well is entirely the responsibility of the individual," Olson said. "Having it tested is a personal responsibility."
The resolution will be forwarded to Kitchens, Sen. Andre Jacque (R-De Pere) and Gov. Tony Evers.
Forestville Millpond drawdown
Also passing by a 19-1 vote was a resolution to extend testing of the Ahnapee River to continue during drawdown of the Forestville Millpond in Door County, with Sup. John Mastalir voting "no".
The pond was formed by the Forestville Dam on the river. Because of the deteriorating condition the pond, the dam will be opened later this year, but residents who live along or use the river, which flows through Kewaunee County, are concerned about the invasive plants and sediment in the pond that will be released, which includes some harmful substances.
During discussion before the vote, Board Chair Robert Weidner said the Total Maximum Daily Load study the Department of Natural Resources is conducting now on the river is scheduled to finish in November, when the drawdown of the pond begins. He said the resolution asks the DNR to continue testing during the drawdown.
This resolution will be forwarded to Kitchens, Jacque, Evers, DNR Secretary Preton Cole, Door County Clerk Jill Lau and Board Chair Dave Lienau.
A third resolution, which passed 20-0, declared a policy to use pavement sealers that don't contain a coal-tar base on county road projects unless required by state or federal authorities.
The resolution noted that coal-tar sealants are a source of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, or PAH, contamination, according to federal studies, and some PAHs are carcinogenic and toxic to water life.
Mary Ellen Dobbins, chair of the Health, Veteran Service & Child Support Committee that brought the resolution, said during discussion that asphalt emulsion sealers are available that offer similar cost and performance without the health risks of coal-tar-based ones.
ATV ordinance tabled
In other action, the board voted 11-9 to table an ordinance that would have set regulations for operation of ATVs and UTVs on public roads in the county.
The ordinance would require those operating the vehicles on public roads to be at least 16 years old with a valid driver's license, compared to 12 years old under current state law. It also set a speed limit of 35 mph and specific hours of operation. Sheriff Matt Joski wrote in a Star-News column dated May 18 that the ordinance would provide more consistent rules and the authority for his deputies to enforce them.
Sup. Olson questioned why the ordinance hadn't been explored in more detail by the Highway Safety Committee, then moved to table it until the committee was able to do so.
Contact Christopher Clough at 920-741-7952, 920-562-8900 or [email protected]
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Kewaunee County Board passes resolutions related to water quality