December 22, 2013

Podcast and gallery: Karst + waste + drinking water = trouble

We’ve got two bonus features for you to accompany our recent reporting on estrogenic wells in northeastern Wisconsin’s karst region.

One: Podcast. Reporter Ron Seely interviews Kate Golden, the Center’s multimedia director, about the story, including how much people should freak out. Finding endocrine disruptors in the water didn’t prompt researchers to tell residents to stop drinking their water (often, they already had for other reasons). The words the researchers kept using, Golden says, were “disconcerting.” “Unsettling.”

Two: Gallery. Over time collected so many pictures of cracks, sinkholes and the like in Wisconsin’s northeastern karst region that we couldn’t print them all with the story. Here’s a gallery, many of them courtesy of the Door County Soil and Water Conservation Department.

One thing we noticed is that it’s tough to communicate the problem with a single photo. Few holes in the ground are as striking as the tractor-size one that appeared near Eagle (shown below). But then again, that’s part of the problem. Karst features — conduits to the groundwater — would be easier to avoid if they were all so obvious. Taken together, the photos give a sense of how cracked this landscape is overall — and how vulnerable the groundwater.

Karst in northeastern Wisconsin: A photo gallery