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Wisconsin Ag News Headlines
DNR Board Okays Plan to Write Stricter Manure Regulations
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 12/12/2019

The state's natural resources board is giving the DNR permission to develop rules that aim to reduce nitrate pollution in areas susceptible to groundwater contamination. On Tuesday, the panel voted 5-1 to move forward in the process of drafting the stricter regulations as part of the NR 151 rule.

Chairman Dr. Frederick Prehn says it could take up to 30 months for the rules to become reality, as it would require action on behalf of the legislature before going into affect.

"This process is going to take us a couple of years and is going to have all the stakeholders at the table," Dr. Prehn said. "It's a step in the right direction. Hopefully, it's a quantitative step that changes the water. The public wants solutions, and agriculture wants to be a part of that."

Nitrate is Wisconsin's most widespread groundwater contaminant. Approximately 90 percent of nitrate in groundwater originates from agricultural sources such as land application of fertilizers and manure.

Experts say elevated nitrate can cause miscarriage, congenital disabilities, elevated cancer risk and other disorders.

Earlier this year, the board directed the DNR to expand public input regarding the department's process in developing rules relating to the state's water quality standards. Additional public hearings were held in Fond du Lac, Hancock and Janesville.

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