Pollution report outlines threats to Green Bay
- Associated Press
- February 21, 2014 - 11:35 AM
GREEN BAY, Wis. — A new report gives state officials low marks for their lack of control over agricultural and industrial pollution that pose threats to Green Bay.
University of Wisconsin System researchers released the State of the Bay report Thursday, saying problems with high phosphorous levels stem from a lack of state help in controlling runoff pollution and other hazards.
The results come in part from more than 7,000 water samples from the area, Press-Gazette Media (http://gbpg.net/1bRU5GI ) reported Friday. The bay already contains an area of low oxygen where fish and plants are unable to survive. This is commonly called a dead zone.
"I suppose it could be worse, but it certainly could be better," researcher Bud Harris said.
Harris and his wife, Victoria, joined another researcher in studying the area's biggest challenges. While there have been slight gains in reducing levels of cancer-causing PCBs, which also threaten fish populations, the state has moved away from helping confront the bay's issues, they said.
"That's a fundamental challenge," Harris said, "and it's probably going to get worse before it gets better."
Researchers said they hope the findings will prompt state officials to work with farmers and industrial leaders to control the pollution.
The 153-page report says large amount of phosphorous, coming from industrial runoff and from cow manure and fertilizer, are major threats to Green Bay. The pollutants enter the bay after heavy rain and snowfall, researchers said.
That phosphorous in turn causes beach closures, drinking water hazards and fishing restrictions.
Bud and Victoria said that after 40 years studying water quality in the area, they hope the culmination of their work would prompt leaders to take up their work.
"This all takes time," he said. "If we persist, we can expect some good things to happen."
© 2016 Star Tribune