Scientist Urges DNR to Think Beyond Existing Regulations as Waukesha Water Plan Advances

Scientists urges DNR to think beyond existing regulations as Waukesha water plan advances - WUWM, July 30, 2015
Author: Susan Bence

Standing close to the spot where Waukesha’s proposed pipe would discharge treated water, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee biologist Tim Ehlinger worries about the impact it could have on the Root River.

“The Root is a fabulous treasure. I think what’s gorgeous about it down here is you’ve got all this riparian wetland and wooded wetland that floods frequently and it provides for the life of the amphibians and the birds and the water quality,” he says.

Ehlinger says if Waukesha’s plan is okayed, routine wastewater treatment takes care of chemicals such as phosphorus and nitrogen, but the process doesn’t remove everything. “There are other things, pharmaceuticals, other kinds of chemicals that aren’t removed during the treatment process currently,” he says.

Ehlinger says scientists are learning more about the impacts pharmaceuticals and other pathogens have on aquatic and potentially human life, but for now, the substances aren’t monitored or regulated.

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