WGWA Newsletter 2nd Quarter 2015
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A Message from the President:
    Since our last newsletter, WGWA has hosted our Annual State Conference and selected two new members to fill leadership roles that were open at the start of this year.
    I have personally received many positive comments regarding the conference and our survey of attendees reiterated that same feeling.  From the survey we learned that a majority of our attendees liked the format and the speakers, greatly enjoyed the food, and felt they received a tremendous value for their registration fee.  I know President-Elect, Nicole Kron, is very much looking forward to next year’s conference already and is taking input on themes and topics.
    We started 2015 with a serious need to fill key leadership roles on the WGWA Board of Directors.  During our last Board Meeting, held May 1st, the board approved Rob Hoverman, of EnviroForensics, to the Education & Field Trip Committee, and added Heather Hallett, of Foth Infrastructure & Environment, to the At-Large Board Members.  Our plan is to have Rob work with Chris Lawn (At-Large Board Member) on developing our Fall Field Trip and Heather will help with membership development activities.  WGWA is lucky to have these two professionals join the leadership team and I believe they are on track for shaping the future of WGWA.
    Our Newsletter Committee has put together a recap of the Annual State Conference that can be found later in this newsletter.  I hope you will consider reading the details and visit the WGWA website's events page for the shared slides from the conference.
    -Aaron Schneider
Brownfields Study Group Finalizes Report

In the 20 years since the passage of Wisconsin’s Land Recycling Act, Wisconsin’s brownfields initiative has become a national leader in the field of cleanup and redevelopment. A large part of that success is due to the partnership of Wisconsin state agencies with the Brownfields Study Group. This independent and external advisory group – with members representing local governments, environmental consulting firms, industry associations, law firms, non-profits and academia – has worked to strengthen brownfield redevelopment legislation and administrative procedures.

During much of 2014, the Group, state agencies and interested stakeholders spent countless hours developing new proposals to meet today’s needs; to enhance an already vibrant brownfields program. These proposals can be found in the Group’s 2015 Report – Investing in Wisconsin. This 80-page document focuses on issues related to liability relief and property access; tools for local governments; technical issues; financing; and waterfront revitalization. In all, there are 34 unique proposals that address current brownfield needs in Wisconsin. This report is not a product of the DNR, but does focus on suggestions as to how DNR can improve its delivery of services that impact brownfields cleanups. The Brownfields Study Group was created in 1998 to examine how Wisconsin could increase the number of contaminated properties that were cleaned up and put back into productive use. The Group is an independent external advisory group to DNR, and has fulfilled its role superbly over the years.
Summary courtesy of: Judy Fassbender, DNR
Full document available here:


2015 WGWA Annual
State Conference

"Budgeting and Characterizing the Vadose Zone"

On Friday, March 13th, 2015, about 70 water professionals from all over the State gathered in Waukesha at the Milwaukee Marriott West to participate in the Wisconsin Ground Water Association’s annual conference. Besides a luxury venue, sumptuous meal, and never-ending snacks, attendees were treated to a star-quality program of speakers. The program and most presentations are posted to the website at Newsletter Editor, Lee Trotta's summary follows:

Starting the program off was Radon Program Manager for the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Jessica Maloney. She described a case of radon in groundwater at a Wisconsin fish hatchery near Madison. Spurred to investigate the cause of an employee’s asthma attack, the hatchery was found to harbor around 200 pCi/L of radon in air circulating in lower portions of the building. The next measurement revealed 500 pCi/L in the water. There are no federally enforced standards for radon in water, but air ventilation systems were added here and the agency may now need to study other hatcheries.
The next speaker, Jay Zambito of the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey, revealed preliminary results of a study testing whether there is link between ground-water quality and local geology in west-central Wisconsin. Being studied are the Cambrian Wonewoc and Tunnel City Group along with potential pathways in which natural contaminants could be formed. Although rock cores are sparse across the Driftless Area and more data will be needed, the contact between these two formations has been identified as a problem area. Heavy metals concentrate where fluctuating water levels at the target contact create redox conditions and pH is low.
Our third presenter, Dr. William Likos, Professor of Engineering at UW-Madison, clarified some of the basic principles of unsaturated soil mechanics (crucial to exploring the vadose zone theme of this year’s conference). Interesting case histories were used to present concepts like stress, heat flow, and pore water pressure. He explained the application of macro and particle-scale lab testing on field-scale assessments.
Next, a tag team of speakers from Quarles & Brady (Laren Harpke and George Marek) addressed vapor intrusion and the associated liability. Site closures must include an assessment of vapor migration pathways up from the soil. Phase I ESA studies must now include it. Purchasers of property can be held liable for pre-existing contamination. Common Law includes trespass of the hazard onto neighboring property. Anticipated new uses (e.g., putting condos on a brownfield) may require reopening an investigation.
Judy Fassbender, Policy Chief at the Wisconsin DNR, spoke on her project identifying risks due to historical dry cleaners. A recent phonebook study came up with a list of 265 probable dry cleaners in Madison’s history (and only 21 are noted in the BRRTS database). The goal of the project was to develop a holistic approach to dry cleaner cleanup and redevelopment. Due to changes in dry cleaning technology, the bulk of Madison’s PCE was probably released about 50 years ago. Some former dry cleaners plotted within the 50-year capture zone of municipal wells. Judy’s team brought the info to the City of Madison and together they decided to study 30 long-term sites near a potential receptor. Screening is now complete for 25 of these sites and 50% were found to have contamination.

The KEYNOTE PRESENTATION was given by Dr. Todd McAlary, Principal Engineer at Geosyntec Consultants and member of U.S. EPA’s Expert Panel on Vapor Intrusion. Speaking on vapor intrusion mitigation, Todd said in order to identify the source of vapor intrusion one must address how it got there with careful investigation. Sometimes TCE will concentrate in the wooden beams at a drycleaners. Petroleum hydrocarbons seldom cause the actual vapor intrusion problem, but will always be present in the vapor. Todd’s preferred tools include Automatic Thermal Desorption Tubes, passive samplers, and the Hantush & Jacob formulae.

Brian Hennings of Natural Resource Technology discussed conceptual site model development for vapor intrusion. Such a model helps identify data gaps and indicates how to complete a vapor pathway investigation. First do a BRRTS search and examine site hydrogeology. Examine your complexity options based on what’s known and where the regulation limits lie. If the model does not screen clean, plan additional sampling. Then be flexible and adjust to the new data.
Megan Hamilton of EnviroForensics led us through evaluation of observed vapor intrusion attenuation. Guidance from many agencies promotes the analysis of past sampling data at other structures to arrive at attenuation factors (AFs). The majority of established AFs were derived from residential structures and may need adjustment for commercial buildings. So they did a study of 50 different drycleaner sites in Wisconsin and Indiana to provide ground truthing.
Mike Marek of Marek Landscaping gave info on ecological consideration in Phase 3 site investigations. Without ecological expertise, revisits to restoration sites often reveal problems with erosion, poor seedbed preparation, poor vegetation establishment, loss of habitat, and iffy public perception. The goal is to sustain ecosystems. Find a nearby reference site to build a plan for likely success. Composting benefits the erosion resistance, seed preparation, and burial of weed seeds, and can be blown with low-tech equipment. A population of beneficial bacteria, fungi, and nematodes are already in the compost. Once established, you get drought resistance and carbon sequestration.
The final speaker was Jim Bannantine of Geosyntec Consultants with a lively talk on global warming and climate change. He warned not to believe every news article on the subject, as there will likely be a conflicting article next week. Several studies show a warming trend, including satellite temperature data since 1979. Carbon dioxide has also plotted as on the rise since 1959, but it is not directly related to either temperature rise or fossil fuels use. Nuclear testing has complicated these numbers. Glacier ice shrinking depends on whether you are talking North Pole or South Pole, sea ice or land ice. Better public education on this matter is needed.
Gogebic Taconite Office Closes in Hurley, WI
    Gogebic's President Bill Williams announced his decision amidst opposition and obstacles from local agencies. Stating the Florida based company will "continue to investigate the possibility of pursuing a permit to mine" but couldn't justify having an office without immediate action.
Courtesy: Sheboygan Press, Full article available here.
Source of Antarctica's Eerie "Bleeding Glacier" Found
    The rust colored brine, referred to as Blood Falls, pours into Lake Bonney and is twice as salty as sea water. Scientist also discovered this briny water extends much further into Taylor Valley then once thought.
Courtesy: Yahoo News, Full article available here.
Drone video coverage of the 2015 World Ice & Snow Sailing (WISSA) Championship held during the 2015 Sturgeon Stampede on Lake Winnebago, Wisconsin's largest inland lake.

The WGWA Newsletter is written and produced by: Lee Trotta (Editor) and Kara Henderl (Design & Layout)
Going to the GSA’s North-Central Section annual meeting in Madison?

Visit WGWA in Booth #7 in the expo hall.  And keep up-to-date with the latest news on our webpage:
SCS Engineers is looking for a full-time Associate Geologist / Environmental Scientist to join their environmental services and solid waste team in Madison, WI.
Click Here for more details!
Regional Events

May 14-15, 2015-- 2nd Annual Midwest Outdoor Heritage Education Expo: MacKenzie Center, Poynette, WI. Expo will offer hands-on outdoor activities for students in 4th, 5th & 6th grades. A unique field trip where students can participate in archery, air-gun, fisheries, forestry, wildlife and so many other fun outdoor activities, all in one location.

May 19-20th, 2015 - GSA North-Central Section, Madison WI. The 49th Annual Meeting of GSA’s regional meeting will take place in Madison. More details about this great event can be found on this website:

Events Around the U.S.

May 19-21, 2015: NovCare 2015, International Conference (Novel Methods for Subsurface Characterization and Monitoring: From Theory to Practice). Held at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas. For more information, click here.

June 16-19, 2015: The New MODFLOW Course: Theory and Hands-On Applications. Held at the Orleans Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. For more information, click here.

June 18, 2015: Environmental Well Field Day is being held in Watersville, Ohio. Presented in conjunction with Geoprobe Systems. For more information, click here.

September 22-23, 2015: NGWA Upper Great Plains Groundwater Conference. Held at the Little American Hotel and Resort in Cheyenne, Wyoming. For more information, click here.

September 28-29, 2015: NGWA Conference on Groundwater in Fractured Rock and Sediments. Held at the Hilton Burlington in Burlington, VT. For more information, click here

October 5-9, 2015: 2015 Minnesota Ground Water Conference. "The Sinkhole Conference" is being held in Rochester, MN. This multidisciplinary conference is co-hosted by the National Cave and Karst Research Institute (NCKRI) and MGWA. For more information, click here.

October 20-22, 2015: 2015 Groundwater Foundation National Conference held in Lincoln, Nebraska. "It's just the beginning: Groundwater Protection and Conservation for the future." For more information, click here.
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SUMMARY: 2015 Annual State Conference Poster Presentations
Throughout the day at every available break, attendees were treated to poster presentations by area students competing for cash prizes. Our five competing posters included:
"Determining the Sources of Chloride Contamination in Surface Water and Groundwater in Eau Claire, WI"
"Determining Effects of Physical Characteristics of Urban Storm Sewer Sheds on Water Quality"
"Characterizing Unsaturated Zone Permeability Using Geophysical Techniques"
"Modeling Flow Regimes for a Cyclical Wetland Using Groundwater Temperatures in McLean County, IL"
"Relationship of Soil Moisture and Air Permeabiity during a Soil Vapor Extraction Pilot Study"
Poster prizes were presented at the end of the conference, with first place going to:
“Characterizing Unsaturated Zone Permeability Using Geophysical Techniques” - Sarah Elizabeth Kunutson, Haillie Noel Passow, and Dr. Katherine Grote
from UWEC.
Other Student awards winners included:
Eileen Maxwell
Justin Dowling
Greg Burgess
Tanner Bakke
Alicia O'Hare
Audra Hanks
Senior Scientist Should Be Writing

Writing scientific articles is important to your career. Read this article to find out why and then write one for publication in this newsletter.  Contact the Newsletter Editor:
Courtesy: The Scientist, Full article available here.
Many thanks to our 2015 Annual State Conference sponsors: Geosyntec Consultants, Natural Resource Technology, Midwest Geosciences Group, Wellntel, and EnviroForensics.
Copyright © 2015 Wisconsin Groundwater Assoc., All rights reserved.

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