DNR water regulation enforcement investigated

Posted at 4:27 PM, Oct 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-10 17:27:52-04

Federal regulators plan to visit Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources headquarters this week to investigate claims that the agency is failing to enforce water pollution laws and regulations.

Midwest Environmental Advocates and 16 individuals petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to review water regulations in the state to ensure the DNR is complying with the Clean Water Act.

The EPA in 2011 cited 75 deficiencies in how the DNR handles water regulation.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports that four EPA regulators plan to spend four days this week at DNR headquarters in Madison paging through the agency's water pollution files beginning Tuesday.

DNR spokesman Jim Dick called the review standard procedure, although the review could result in the EPA stripping the state's authority to enforce federal regulations.

This investigation comes after it was announced this morning that state food safety inspectors are checking vegetables from farms in flooded areas of Wisconsin for contamination.

State Agriculture Secretary Ben Brancel says inspectors have taken a proactive approach in western and central counties hit by heavy rainfall in August and September.

State and federal food safety regulations don't directly address flooding, but produce that has come in contact with flood water is considered unfit for human or animal consumption because it could be contaminated by pathogens or chemicals.

Brancel says that inspectors aren't waiting for a phone call before visiting a farm or food processor.