WAUKESHA COUNTY
E
NVIRONMENTAL
ACTION LEAGUE
Protecting Waukesha County's Natural Resourses since 1978

WEAL

Representing the Waukesha County community for the protection of Waukesha County's natural resources through dedicated grass-roots participation and action.

 

 WAUKESHA COUNTY ENVIRONMENTAL ACTION LEAGUE
POSITION STATEMENT

Clean Water

WEAL will continue to advocate for clean water wherever it flows.

There is currently tremendous water quality impairment in our County waterways caused by nonpoint sources of pollution (polluted runoff). It has been reported in studies and watershed reports, that non-point sources are responsible for about 50% of all water pollution in Waukesha County waterways. Consequently, vigorous efforts have shifted to correcting non-point source pollution or diffuse sources of water pollution. Non-point sources of water pollution are difficult to identify, quantify, and correct. Polluted runoff and spills can also percolate through the soil and taint groundwater, causing harm to local and regional water supplies.

Non-point source pollution can be defined simply, as polluted runoff. Non-point source pollution is the result of poorly managed land. Poorly managed urban, suburban, and agricultural lands are the major contributors of pollutants such as sediment, pathogenic bacteria, pesticides, polychlorinated biphenals (PCB's), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and other toxic materials. Air pollution can be another source of water pollution. Toxic materials washed out of the air by rain or snow commonly carry pesticides, heavy metals, or PCBs and enter lakes, streams and rivers with the runoff.

Examples of urban and suburban non-point source pollutants include:

  1. Soil eroding from construction sites, roadside ditches, and stream banks.
  2. Oil, grease, salt, and toxic materials from streets, parking lots, driveways, and industrial yards.
  3. Grass, leaves, pet waste, fertilizer, and pesticides from lawns, gardens, parks, and golf courses.

Examples of rural non-point source pollutants include:

  1. Soil eroding from cropland, often carrying with it fertilizer and pesticides.
  2. Nutrients, organic matter, and bacteria from barnyards or from improperly spread manure.
  3. Soil from eroding stream banks.

WEAL supports clean water. To achieve this goal, WEAL endorses the following positions:

  1. Continued abatement of point sources of pollution by the private sector, municipal and federal governments. Pollution such as industrial discharges of untreated waste water, municipal treatment plants, and other remaining point sources must be identified, eliminated and/or treated through other biological treatment technologies- such as "living machines. Attention must be directed at enforcement and compliance with Industrial and Municipal Discharge Permits. Phosphorus and chlorine discharge limits must be established for all waste water treatment plants.
  2. Establishment and vigorous enforcement of construction site erosion control ordinances by Waukesha County and all incorporated municipalities. These ordinances should mirror the State Model Ordinance developed by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WIDNR). Methods and practices used on construction sites to prevent erosion and trap sediments must conform to the design, construction, and maintenance standards contained in the "Best management Practice Handbook" published by the WIDNR.
  3. Decisions on land use planning, zoning, and rezoning in all communities in Waukesha County must consider the impact to water quality. Guidelines and performance standards must be adopted to reduce the adverse impacts of growth and development on the natural environment. For example, parking lots should not drain directly into any intermittent or perennial stream or storm sewer. Grass swales and buffers should be planned on all new subdivisions to control runoff water, rather than the use of costly curbs, gutters and storm sewers. Preserving flood plains, shorelands, wetlands, natural areas, and all environmental corridors is fundamental to water quality protection. Decisions to fill shorelands and flood plains must consider water quality impacts, as well as changes in the flood elevation downstream.
  4. WEAL supports aggressive enforcement of the Federal Storm water Discharge Permit Program. Discharge runoff from most industrial sites, large and medium sized cities, and all construction sites greater than two acres will require this new permit. WEAL encourages the expansion of this program to include all communities regardless of their population or size. For example, the City of Waukesha should be required to obtain a Storm water Discharge Permit.
  5. Limiting the use of pesticides and fertilizers on croplands, park lands, golf courses, and yards. Excess and accidentally spilled pesticides flow into surface waters and ground water and threaten human and animal health. Local units of government should be encouraged to establish strict standards for the use of all pesticides. Programs and educational materials on alternative pest management programs should be accessible to farmers and homeowners.

WEAL opposes:

  1. Any proposed roadway that will invade environmental corridors, sever stream networks, or harm lakes, rivers, streams and wetlands.
  2. The random use of septic and mound systems and will continue to monitor state and local agencies which are considering expanding the use of septic systems and mound systems in shallower soils or wetter soils.
  3. The building of man-made storm water basins or ponds in natural wetlands for the treatment of polluted runoff.

WEAL will continue to advocate for the protection of all Waukesha County waterways, including its many lakes, rivers, streams, and creeks. WEAL will continue to defend the rights of all Waukesha County citizens to enjoy the right to swim, navigate, fish, and enjoy these valuable natural resources wherever they flow. WEAL will continue to oppose activities that impair water quality and destroy the natural scenic beauty of Waukesha County's streams, rivers, and lakes and their shores.

written 12/95 FA
revised 6/96 FA