ROTHSCHILD - If the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) doesn't give Wisconsin a special exception to phosphorus rules, Wisconsin communities could pass on huge wastewater rate hikes to consumers.
The state is pushing back. It wants permission to delay those phosphorus discharge rules for up to 20 years in some cases.
The issue stems from excess phosphorus in Wisconsin natural waters. Phosphorus causes massive algae blooms in lakes and rivers, which can choke out plants and wildlife and lessen recreational opportunities. That phosphorus comes from sources like agricultural runoff, residual human waste after treatment in municipal wastewater plants, and industrial mills.