Three central points:
First, after posting on the subject some folks over at Isthmus's Daily Page took issue, claiming that actually the problem of manganese in Madison wells dated back to a report in 1995 during my administration. There is one tiny problem with all of this. The report is not on the wells or drinking water.
To build Monona Terrace we had to make sure that any contamination in the land would not pose construction problems and result in compromising ground water quality. Monona Terrace was built, in part on an old dump on the northern shore of Lake Monona that dated back to at least the 1920's. When the researchers found manganese and iron they were referring to the old landfill site, not well water. In fact the two nearby wells tested out just fine then, and again in 1999. Those are wells #17 and #24. The wells presently in question are #3 and #10.
Andy Olson picked up on this. His comments are posted. I gently suggested that he had been 'fed' the erroneous information. Andy retorted:
No-one is "feeding" me anything, thank you. (No thanks for the patronizing attitude). I read your post and found some background on the issue and thought it was of interest.
OK Andy, I accept that you are solely responsible for the accusations. Well, your research is lousy, you misread the material, and your conclusions are plain wrong.
2. Not content to throw around scurrilous accusations, Andy decided to bait me with:
You never did say what you did as Mayor to protect our water quality.
OK, Andy, I will take the bait. How about the remediation, costing millions, of the old dumps going back to the 1930's, which the city inherited from towns it annexed. In the early 1990's the DNR informed us that there were possible contamination issues we had to address. We quickly organized a staff team from City Engineering, the Water Utility, Public Health and other agencies. They came up with a plan that resulted in a collaborative effort with Dane County and the private sector and the problems were solved. Go look at the plan; it might be instructive on how to handle similar problems.
And if that is not enough, go back and look at the enginnering reports based on my desire to get control of surface parking lots. That work was the basis for Sue Baumann wisely adopting a fee for water run off based on non-permeable surfaces. Is that enough for starters?
3. Some commentators believe that there is an overreaction and that I over-exaggerated the manganese issue. Frankly, I am not sure as to the severity of the issue. What I do know is what I said in the original post:
An examination of the (the Mayor's) ten point program to rectify the problem is probably more telling of the situation than the Water Utility reports on manganese.