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Air Force 1 Black On Feet

Air Force 1 Black On Feet

Part 1, April 23: Despite cleanup efforts, beach closures persist. More than 1,300 times over the past two decades, beachgoers have been advised to avoid beaches of the Yahara lakes because bacteria or algae posed health hazards. Researchers around the world are watching ambitious new efforts to fix the lakes for clues to solving pollution in other waters.

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Since 2001, manure digesters have been popping Nike Force Of Son

Air Force 1 Black On Feet

Manure digesters seen as best hope for curbing lake pollution

"At the same time, their success is showing up in our waterways."

Climate change is the main reason, experts say.

political compromise however, a changed political climate that is more hostile to renewable energy is stalling digester growth.

It is closer to an 80 20 split in the Yahara Watershed in Dane County, said Carpenter, who hopes to find a way for the dairy industry to thrive while protecting water quality.

Air Force 1 Black On Feet

Air Force 1 Black On Feet

contaminated a creek and led to notices of environmental violations.

Wisconsin's 1.27 million dairy cows produce 3.2 billion gallons of milk and enough manure to fill almost 3,000 Olympic size swimming pools a year, according to Steve Carpenter, director of UW Madison's Center for Limnology, who has studied the water quality of Madison's lakes for 40 years.

Case in point: Annual phosphorus runoff into Lake Mendota has fluctuated between 27,000 pounds and 178,000 pounds over the past 38 years with no apparent improvements in water quality, Carpenter said.

It is no secret that cows produce two things in abundance in the Dairy State: milk and manure.

INTERACTIVE GRAPHIC: Wisconsin CAFOs

There were zero rain events of more than 3 inches in the 1980s, four rain events of more than 3 inches in 1990s and eight events of more than 3 inches in the 2000s, according to Carpenter.

up across the state. Wisconsin now has 34, the most in the nation, with two more scheduled to begin operating by 2015. In all these digesters, bacteria eat biomass like manure, food scraps or whey and emit energy in the form of methane gas.

"Right now, the management of the (manure) runoff is a political compromise. And I understand the sensitivities that need to be addressed there," Carpenter said. "But if, as a society, we wanted to have clean lakes, we could do it. We just haven't valued clean lakes highly enough to make that a priority."

Three recent well publicized spills of 435,000 gallons of liquid manure from Wisconsin's first "community" manure digester, in Dane County, Air Force 1 Mid Black On Feet

The Dane County community digester is designed to remove 60 percent of the phosphorus from the processed manure, according to the DNR.

Part 2, April 30: Manure digesters are seen as the best hope for curbing water pollution in the Yahara Watershed. But a lack of money and political will limit their use. And spills create doubts about their reliability.

"The automation, the technologies that farmers use today have made them very successful," said Monte Lamer, a farm boy from Tomahawk and former power plant operator in Alaska who is now plant manager for the Clear Horizons community digester outside of Waunakee.

Air Force 1 Black On Feet

Air Force 1 Black On Feet

For years, Richard Lathrop, an honorary fellow at UW Madison's Center for Limnology and a retired DNR research limnologist, has been telling anyone who will listen that farmers need help processing their manure.

And spills are raising doubts about digesters' reliability.

The agricultural runoff that often turns Madison's lakes unpleasant by creating algal blooms that look and smell bad, clog boat motors and close beaches is expected to only get worse.

According to experts, agriculture accounts for roughly 70 percent of the phosphorus runoff Air Force White Nike

Dane County kicked the process up a notch by attaching an industrial centrifuge to its digesters. Like a juicer that separates the liquid from the pulp, centrifugal force separates the phosphorus from the liquid and gas.

"Compared to straight land application, the digesters have the ability to degrade those contaminants, somewhat," Yang said. "But they were really designed to reduce pathogens, greenhouse gas emission and minimize odor."

This series, Murky Waters, was produced collaboratively by The Capital Times and Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. It is part of Water Watch Wisconsin, a project supported by The Joyce Foundation that is examining water quality and supply issues statewide.

in watersheds across the state, with urban runoff accounting for the remaining 30 percent.

Part Air Force 1 Black On Feet 3, May 7: Urban areas taint lakes, and an expert worries about the role of leaky septic lines. Developers, often reviled by environmentalists, yield power to make lakes cleaner.

Air Force 1 Black On Feet

Part 4, May 14: Hopes are tempered by hard realities, particularly at Lake Kegonsa, as experts and residents join forces to clean the Yahara lakes. Success stories can be found. But in one sign of the challenges ahead, Daphnia, a tiny invertebrate that has done much to clean up the lakes, is now threatened by a hungry invasive species, the spiny waterflea.

"A 3 inch rain event can move a lot of manure and a lot of soil in the lakes at once," Carpenter said. Environmental Protection Agency driven regulations are calling for the state to get phosphorus out of its lakes. Carpenter and Lamer are among a growing chorus of dairy industry supporters who see manure digesters as key to lowering high phosphorus levels in waterways to meet the tougher regulations.

Manure digesters cannot remove all the phosphorus from waste, nor do they completely remove other contaminants like hormones and anti microbials, said Sarah Yang, a water evaluation toxicologist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Air Force 1 Black On Feet

Air Force 1 Black On Feet

Air Force 1 Black On Feet

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