Water Quality Task Force to Meet in Racine County

By: Journal Times Staff 7/8/19 

RACINE COUNTY — The state Legislature’s Water Quality Task Force plans to visit Racine County on Thursday as part of its statewide fact-finding mission.

The task force, put together by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, plans to hold an informational tour at 10 a.m. at the Burlington Wastewater Treatment Facility, 2100 S. Pine St., and a public hearing at 1 p.m. at the county’s Ives Grove Office Complex, 14200 Washington Ave., Yorkville.

The public hearing is scheduled to last two hours and is to include testimony from several local officials, including: Monte Osterman, a Racine County Board Supervisor and member of the County Land Conservation Committee and Wisconsin Land and Water Board member; Chad Sampson, Racine County conservationist and member of the Watershed Protection Committee of Racine County; Dave Giordano, executive director of the Root-Pike Watershed Initiative Network; and Keith Haas, general manager, or Mike Gitter, chief of operators, with the Racine Water and Wastewater Utilities.

According to the task force’s website, the goals are to:

  • Identifying best practices for testing and data collection, measuring water quality in different parts of the state, and types of soil.
  • Determining the sources and causes of contaminants impacting water quality.
  • Consulting with stakeholders to assess current practices to manage runoff as well as suggestions to improve these efforts.
  • Investigating remedies that will protect a healthy and stable supply of water for residents and industry.
  • Studying best practices for designing and constructing wells and septic systems to safeguard a healthy water supply.

The bipartisan task force is chaired by state Rep. Todd Novak, R-Dodgeville, and state Rep. Katrina Shankland, D-Stevens Point.

“Access to clean, safe drinking water is vital to our health and I’m pleased that we will be traveling around the state to hear directly from people affected by water quality issues as well,” Shankland said. “I am committed to working with my colleagues and experts to explore these issues deeply, and I am hopeful that we can work together to ensure everyone in our state has access to clean and safe drinking water.”

Novak stressed that public input is a key component to the task force’s mission.

“Each region of our state is facing a unique set of challenges,” Novak said. “Our goal is to tailor each visit to highlight these challenges while ensuring the public is included in the conversation.”