contributed….NEKOOSA, WI – Today the Petenwell and Castle Rock Stewards (PACRS), a citizens’ group working to improve the water quality of the Wisconsin River, filed a petition in court to challenge the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ renewal of the Domtar Corporation’s wastewater permit. The group says the DNR must consider the impact of phosphorus discharges into the Wisconsin River as well as downstream lakes before renewing permits that have a long-term impact on area waters, homes and businesses.

“We have been working with property owners, neighbors and the DNR closely since 2008 to monitor and preserve lakes Petenwell and Castle Rock,” said town of Rome resident and PACRS President Rick Georgeson. “We needed to take this action to limit the phosphorus inputs into the already-impaired water and we are asking the DNR to use its permit-granting authority to help clean up these lakes.  The Domtar Corporation’s permit renewal allows for wastewater to be discharged into the river, and subsequently into Lake Petenwell, that is more than twice the amount of phosphorus that the new rules allow.”

“Our local businesses depend on clean water,” said Tom Koren, a Lake Petenwell business owner and PACRS board member. “We were pleased in 2010 when the Legislature passed innovative, watershed-based regulations to reduce phosphorus pollution. The new rules allow the DNR to work with farms and corporations like Domtar to clean up the watershed through cost-efficient and effective plans like adaptive management or water quality trading. But we need the DNR to start enforcing these rules now, while helping companies build a long-term plan to deal with pollutants in wastewater.”

“We’re asking the DNR to comply with the laws the agency adopted just over two years ago, with broad support from individuals, corporations and municipal treatment plants,” said Matt Krueger, director of the River Alliance of Wisconsin’s Wisconsin River Initiative. “Citizens have been asking for tougher enforcement of phosphorus pollution from all sources, not just in Nekoosa, but in water bodies statewide where algae blooms are keeping people from enjoying their shared water resource. This is an opportunity for the DNR to reduce phosphorus pollution.”  The Petenwell and Castle Rock Stewards (PACRS) are comprised of Adams and Juneau County land owners, business owners, recreation club members, condo association members, elected officials, and citizens who seek to build positive, sustainable partnerships with those who can help find solutions to the algae blooms that plague our lakes. Petenwell and Castle Rock Stewards are interested in improving the water quality of Petenwell and Castle Rock flowages. Learn more on the PACRS website at pacrs.org.

Midwest Environmental Advocates is a public interest organization that uses the power of the law to support communities fighting for environmental accountability. Learn more about the Midwest Environmental Advocates on the web at midwestadvocates.org, like MEA on Facebook or follow @MidwestAdvocate on Twitter.  Established in 1993, the River Alliance of Wisconsin advocates for the protection, enhancement and restoration of Wisconsin’s rivers and watersheds. Visit the River Alliance of Wisconsin website at wisconsinrivers.org, like their Facebook page or follow @RiverAlliance on Twitter.
Barb Baker says, “the next meeting for the PACRS in Juneau County will be February 22nd, 2013 at 10am at Shipwreck Bay on Castle Rock Lake.