Wausau sewage dump shows media, environmentalists have it out for farmers

Courtesy of WSAU TV 

By Dan Ellsworth
Wisconsin Water Alliance President

On Jan. 23, the City of Wausau piped 3.7 million gallons of raw, untreated human feces and waste directly into the Wisconsin River. Was this by accident? No. It was by design, as the waste was routed directly to the river by the city’s sewerage system after a pipe leading to the wastewater treatment plant was plugged. Everything worked according to plan. As city officials alluded to afterward, the waters of the Wisconsin River actually were the perfect solution to the problem, as opposed to allowing sewage to back up into some Wausau homes.
3.7 million gallons of untreated human waste. 30 million pounds of wastewater. That’s as much water used is used in a single day by 40,000 households.
How was this environmental disgrace covered by the press? Did they hold the city’s feet to the fire? Stand up for the river that is our state’s namesake? Not even close.
The Wausau Daily Herald downplayed the event with four short paragraphs, mostly parroting the statement put out by the city. The headline tells you everything you need to know about the paper’s bias: “3.7 Million Gallons of Sewage Leaked into Wisconsin River Due to Plugged Pipe.” Leaked? Really? A “leak” is defined as “accidentally losing contents through a hole or crack.” If this were a leak, it would have taken 10 years for 3.7 million gallons to work its way into the environment. This was not a leak. It was a dump.
How did the environmentalists react? Did they come unglued, the way they do when a manure pit slightly overflows? Not even slightly. No comments in the press coverage. No Facebook alerts. No calls for protest against the local water utility. No tearful sing-alongs on the shoreline. Nothing at all. Doesn’t Clean Wisconsin care? Isn’t the contamination of water supposed to be the most important issue for Kewaunee Cares? How about Saratoga Concerned, which has been vocally protesting even the most environmentally progressive farmers? Nothing.
It’s just more example of how being a farmer in Wisconsin today is like being public enemy No. 1, and the media feeds into it. When a few hundred gallons of manure accidentally escapes a farmer’s manure storage system, these groups are all over the press and social media, describing the spill as an environmental disaster. The media serves as a willing partner in helping these groups vilify yet another farmer.
But when millions and millions of gallons of human waste, drug residues and Lord knows whatever else is flushed down Wausau’s toilets and dumped directly into the Wisconsin River, it’s silence from the environmentalists and a convenient whitewash from the media.
No wonder Wisconsin’s farmers are down in the dumps.

4 thoughts on “Wausau sewage dump shows media, environmentalists have it out for farmers”

  1. What a double standard! Farmers are crucified if a small amount runs out, but this is ok??? WTF so wrong and NO one is getting a fine? DNR where are you?

  2. An environmentalist Lawyer is greatly needed here. The inappropriate ‘deciders’ who said to ‘dump’ this waste in the WI. River must be questioned.

  3. farmers are basically in the dumps because every one above the farmer tells us what they will pay us and what they will charge us and the American farmer is the ONLY business in the united states who are NOT allowed to set prices for what they produce. its like going to work in a factory we are told what we will be paid except we do it with out benefits unless we pay for them ourselves.

    1. AND nowhere does the American Farmer get paid even minimum wage for all of the hours of labor put into farming. Right now Dairy Farmers are basically giving away their milk because they don’t get paid enough for it to pay the cost of production, let alone a paycheck for their labor. The American Farmer is the only one that pays out-of-their pocket to work without bringing in enough income to reim nurse what they paid out. AND NO the US Government IS NOT handing out money to the Dairy Farmer. The Dairy Farmer has handed out money to the US Government to pay for a program that has not returned money back to the Dairy Farmer. ZERO help from the government for over 3 years!!!! And we have had historically low milk prices for at least 4 years.

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