The health of Wisconsin's waterways is still being threatened by commercial development runoff. According to the EPA, one acre of land under construction can produce 20 to 150 tons of sediment running into waterways a year.
In a report from the Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group, WISPIRG, pollutants from commercial construction sites are still going largely unchecked despite a one of the toughest runoff prevention laws around.
WISPIRG Field Director Bruce Speight says the problem is the law is not being adequately implemented and enforced. And that's partly because the agency that deals with clean water doesn't have jurisdiction in most runoff cases.
Speight says although the DNR is the only agency in the state authorized to enforce the Clean Water Act, it's the state Commerce department that oversees runoff plans for commercial construction sites.
And Speight doesn't feel Commerce is getting the job done. WISPIRG will ask legislators to either hand it over to DNR or require the same standards to prevent run-off pollution.
Or Speight says the legislature could provide enough funding so Commerce can hire enough staff to make sure commercial developers are complying with the runoff protection law.