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A Wisconsin study that shows a connection between viruses in drinking water and human illness is likely to have a national impact and could eventually lead to federal rules requiring treatment of all public water systems, according to experts.

A state law in Wisconsin that required treatment of all municipal drinking water systems in the state was rescinded by the Republican-controlled state Legislature a year ago. State Rep. Erik Severson, R-Star Prairie, sponsored an amendment that removed the requirement, arguing that the rule was an unnecessary financial and bureaucratic burden on communities with already strong water standards.

The EPA-funded study showed that:

  • All 14 communities studied during the two-year project had human viruses in their tap water. Of 1,204 samples, 287, or 24 percent, were virus positive.
  • The higher the virus concentration, the higher the rate of illness found in each community.
  • The type of virus found in drinking water most strongly related to illness was norovirus, the same virus notorious for causing outbreaks on cruise ships.
  • During one part of the study, when norovirus was very common in one community’s tap water, the proportion of illness in children younger than 5 years old attributable to their drinking water could have been as high as 63 percent.


WISC-TV CH 3 Monday May 7, 2012
Vapors from soil contamination seeping into Monona Grove High School

The fourth annual Fix a Leak Week, March 12 through 18, 2012, generated real results and widespread public interest about finding and fixing leaks. Nationwide, more than 1 trillion gallons of water leak from U.S. homes each year, so fixing leaks provides savings in terms of both water and money.

Fourth and fifth graders in Charleston, West Virginia were deputized as “leak detectives” to find leaks in their homes. WaterSense held a one-hour Twitter party March 12 to kick off the week, and during that time, the hashtag #fixaleak trended second in the United States! WaterSense manufacturer partner Hansgrohe gave away free WaterSense labeled showerheads to the first 250 Facebook users who answered the question, “What does water mean to you and how do you save it?”

Find out more information about fixing leaks around the home.

Make sure your garden hose is removed form the outside faucet.  You may have a delicate code-approved Sillcock.

These sillcocks are “frost proof” only if you remove the hose and allow them to drip dry before the frost.

The Monona FREE program includes a quick, 45 minute-long home visit to residents to offer an advisory assessment on the efficiency of the house’s windows, water heater, and insulation.  The program will also swap out your shower head, sink aerators and light bulbs at request for low flow, high efficiency fixtures bearing no expense to the homeowners.

Those eligible for the program must receive 50% of their heat and electricity from MG & E and must be a resident of Monona.  Someone 18 years or older must be present at the time of the appointment, and all pets must be contained.

To schedule your appointment, you will have to call toll free (855) 533-8103.  Home assessments will begin on April 9th lasting just 3-4 weeks during the hours of 8am-7pm Mondays-Fridays, and 8am-12pm on Saturdays.

Hormones, drugs, even pesticides could be flowing from your faucet. No one can say for sure, because the government doesn’t require testing for them. But Good Housekeeping found ordinary water pitchers and refrigerator filters that can get rid of these scary chemicals.

Mayor Soglin said: “I am pleased to proclaim Thursday, March 22, 2012 to be World Water Day and ask that citizens join me in celebrating and conserving water throughout World Water Week

Mayor Miller announced that his city’s 2011 sustainability survey showed “water to be the issue of greatest concern to Monona residents.”

Fixing or replacing leaking faucets and toilets is a great way for consumers to save water. Jeff Hellenbrand, owner of Hellenbrand Inc. based in Waunakee, noted their company offers a high efficiency water softener that uses over 75% less salt and 35% less water than traditional water softeners. Softened water saves the consumer money on energy costs; reduces the amount of detergents and soap needed to clean, thus reducing the amount of phosphates that go down the drain and into our lakes. “Our company has also developed a Water Management System that allows the consumer to reclaim over 60% of the water used to recharge your water softener that would go down the drain. Instead, we can reuse that water to flush toilets within a household.”

from Water World:

LIBERTY LAKE, Wash., Feb. 16, 2012 — The City of Madison, WI, Water Utility will implement Itron’s advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) system for Project H20, the city’s program to automate the collection and analysis of water meter reads. The new system will help Madison manage conservation initiatives, improve metering accuracy and operate more efficiently.

Installation using services from Wisconsin-based Corix Utilities Inc. and Madison Laborers Union Local 464 is expected to be complete by early 2013.

Itron’s AMI solution will enable Madison Water Utility’s 235,000 residents to switch from biannual meter reads to monthly meter reads and measure consumption in gallons instead of cubic feet, making bills easier to understand. Additionally, customers will be able to view their hourly water usage information online using web presentment tools.


Water Charities

Governments and charitable groups install water pumps, wells and other village water systems around the world, but pay insufficient attention to keeping them running.  Check this NYTimes article by Tina Rosenberg

Water4, an Oklahoma-based group, makes a drilling kit in a duffel bag.  The bag has everything needed for hand-drilling down to 150 feet and installing a low-tech pump, no power tools needed.  (Cement and PVC are bought locally.)

Happy World Toilet Day!   November 19, 2011

Today we give thanks for:  The Can, the Oval Office, the Loo, the Throne, the Potty, the Library, the Long Drop, the John, the Latrine, the Smart Phone Game Lounge…

Speaking of holidays, did you know that plumbers get 60% more calls the day after Thanksgiving than any other day?

Let’s raise a lid for the almighty toilet! Don’t forget to send an E-card today and share World Toilet Day with Everyone!

World Toilet Day is one of our favorite holidays.  With 2.6 Billion people in the world lacking a toilet, World Toilet Day helps to raise awareness and also gets us all thinking about innovative ways to tackle the problem.

Consider donating to Water For People this year.

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