More human than animal waste found in Wisc. wells

Researchers have identified a number of potential factors, including differences in agricultural practices or soil types, that will be explored in the final report, which is due to be published next year, but Borchardt warns they will not be able to say definitively.

They have not calculated the health risks, which they say depend on multiple factors, including the specific pathogen, its concentration and the health of someone drinking the water.

The wells were randomly selected from a pool of wells that were previously shown to have coliform bacteria or nitrate levels above the drinking water standard.

Like other parts of Wisconsin, the southwestern part of the state has areas where porous bedrock means manure spread on farm fields and human waste from private septic systems can seep into the aquifers tapped for drinking water.



Rising nitrate levels found in tap water of some Madison-area suburbs, report says

Nitrate — from fertilizer, animal and human waste — is the most common contaminant in Wisconsin groundwater and can be especially hazardous to pregnant women and infants.

In Grant, Iowa and Lafayette counties, some 44% of people get their water from private wells. Across the state, some 25% of residents rely on tap water that comes from private wells.

SWIGG researchers are now studying the data to find connections between water quality, geology and well construction to guide public policy decisions on things like the density of septic systems in an area or how far livestock facilities should be from a property line.

Scientists collect waste water for COVID testing

MADISON, Wis. — The coronavirus has been the No. 1 story for almost all of 2020 and this story comes in close at No. 2.

While most of us don’t pay attention to what happens after our toilets flush, scientists and researchers at the Wisconsin State Hygiene Lab are tracking it down and collecting samples of it.

“Science acts in weird ways sometimes,” said senior scientist Martin Shafer.

Shafer is part of a team that is collecting wastewater samples from 67 locations around the state. They’re looking for the the genetic material that causes COVID-19.

“The virus can appear in wastewater before any illness appears in the community,” Shafer said. “So it acts as kind of as an early warning.”

He said this testing goes hand-in-hand with what contact tracers and COVID tests already do.

“We can’t really test 300,000 people twice a week, but we can get an overall assessment of the virus levels in the community by testing the wastewater,” Shafer said.

Team members will go to each collection site about twice a week to collect new samples and bring it back to the lab, where scientists take about two days to compile their findings and share it with public health officials.

“You’re excreting it or shedding it into your fecal matter and you poop and it gets mixed up with everyone else’s and winds up at the wastewater treatment facility and at that point you have a well mixed sample that represents the whole community,” Shafer said.

While Shafer knows the job may literally stink, he said the work they’re doing is helping health leaders decide where they need to flush more resources and attention.

“It’s a really interesting project and it serves the public health goals of the state really well,” Shafer said.

Shafer said the team is still working to collect from more sites and is hoping to collect from at least 100 different sites soon. He said people will be out collecting samples through at least June 2021.



Brexit crisis: EU blamed for trade talks deadlock in poll – ‘Waste of time!’

Express.co.uk readers voted in our poll on who is to blame for the stalemate in negotiations between the UK and Brussels. A huge 62 percent of respondents said the EU, while 29 percent pointed to the bloc’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier.

Some seven percent hold the UK responsible and two percent said another EU member state.

The options of Boris Johnson’s Europe adviser David Frost, no one and don’t know received zero percent.

Commenting on the poll, one reader blasted: “EU intransigence led to UK leaving.

“Could not make them change as a member. So why imagine they would be any more willing to change now that the UK is no longer a member?

Brexit news

The EU is to blame for the deadlock in post-Brexit trade talks with Britain, according to a new poll (Image: GETTY)

Brexit poll

Express.co.uk readers voted in our poll on who is to blame for the stalemate in negotiations between the UK and Brussels (Image: APESTER)

“Negotiations are a waste of time. Walking away and leaving them hanging is the sensible thing to do.”

Another fumed: “It may well be the core of the EU leadership but Mr Barnier is the face so he has to get his share of the blame, he stopped negotiating and went to demanding, its over. Shut it down and walk out the door!”

A third commented: “The word NO must not translate well in the EU of course nobody has dared to say NO before.”

Another said: “EU & Barnier are refusing to move but blaming the UK.”

READ MORE: Brexit warning: Boris must pull plug and walk away, says Brexiteer

David Frost Michel Barnier

Our poll comes as post-Brexit trade talks between the UK and the EU are at a stand-off following the latest round which ended on Friday (Image: GETTY)

A fifth added: “EU ALWAYS blame someone else, it’s what they do.

“They cause all these problems with their demands and threats, slow tactics in getting anything done, pontificating, thinking up new things to demand of Britain, they do not understand we are only asking for something they have given to all countries they trade with – an FTA. Nothing more, nothing less.

“EU is at fault for how things have turned out. BRITAIN has not threatened EU nor insulted but they have always threatened us.”

But another insisted: “I believe Boris is to blame. He should have walked at the end of July.

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David Frost Michel Barnier

Mr Barnier warned that reaching a deal “seems unlikely” at this stage (Image: GETTY)

“I am worrying he will sell-out Britain’s sovereignty to get a deal.”

And one more hit out: “I actually blame the UK for wasting time, the EU are as stubborn as a mule and practically impossible to deal with, we should walk away then talk.”

Our poll comes as post-Brexit trade talks between the UK and the EU are at a stand-off following the latest round which ended on Friday.

Mr Barnier warned that reaching a deal “seems unlikely” at this stage.

David Frost

Mr Frost admitted there has been “little progress” but he accused the EU of frustrating negotiations by insisting the UK bows to Brussels’ state aid and fishing demands before allowing work on other areas (Image: REUTERS)

He said: “Too often this week it felt as if we were going backwards more than forwards.”

Mr Frost admitted there has been “little progress” but he accused the EU of frustrating negotiations by insisting the UK bows to Brussels’ state aid and fishing demands before allowing work on other areas.

He said: “The EU is still insisting not only that we must accept continuity with EU state aid and fisheries policy, but also that this must be agreed before any further substantive work can be done in any other area of the negotiation, including on legal texts.

“This makes it unnecessarily difficult to make progress.

Brexit news

Five key moments that led to Brexit (Image: EXPRESS)

“There are other significant areas which remain to be resolved and, even where there is a broad understanding between negotiators, there is a lot of detail to work through. Time is short for both sides.”

Britain officially left the EU on January 31.

The UK is in a transition period with Brussels until the end of the year while the two sides attempt to strike a trade deal.

Express.co.uk polled 4,151 people on August 22.



BBC shamed: Ex-BBC newsreader won't renew TV licence amid over-75s row ‘waste of money!’

Last year, the Beeb announced it would be scrapping free TV licences for most over-75s meaning more than three million households will now be forced to pay £157.50 a year.

It was originally halted due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic but last month it confirmed it would start charging people from August 1.

The move by the BBC was met with anger from the Government and pensioner charities including Age UK who called the decision a “kick in the teeth”.

And now former newsreader, Jan Leeming, 78, has announced she will not be renewing her licence due to the BBC’s new stance.

Ms Leeming, who was a familiar face to millions during the Seventies and Eighties, claimed the licence fee was once value for money but is not these days.

Writing on Twitter, she said: “Ouch – just wrote cheque for £157.50 for [my] TV licence.

“In the past it was probably value for money but [I] hardly ever watch terrestrial TV – not interested in soaps, cookery and delving into people’s lives with so many reality programmes – there are so many other outlets nowadays.

“The licence has been around so long [I] can’t remember – is [the] licence only for BBC?

“If it is then I need not have paid it as there’s very little on it that I watch? Then I’ve just wasted my money.

READ MORE: BBC licence fee: Over-75s forced to make trade-offs on food & heating

“My bets noire is the current ‘crop’ of news presenters who have celebrity status and salaries to match.”

Ms Leeming started working at the BBC back in 1980 but left seven years later.

She has criticised the TV licence fee in the past claiming if she had to pay she would request a refund.

After announcing the news, BBC chairman, Sir David Clementi, argued they could not delay the scheme any longer as it would impact programmes and services.

He said: “The decision to comment the new scheme in August has not been easy.

“The BBC could not continue delaying the scheme without impacting on programmes and services.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson also lashed out at the BBC urging them to provide a better service.

Three million households will now be forced to pay £157.50 for a colour licence and £57 for a black and white licence.

Only those who receive pension credit benefit and over 75 will be eligible for a free licence.

The licence fee is the annual cost viewers must pay in the UK and funds the TV, radio and online services of the BBC alone.

Those caught watching television without a licence can be fined up to £1,000 in addition to court costs.



POLL: After study exposes SHAMEFUL waste, should House of Lords be scrapped?

The running of the House of Lords comes at a significant cost to the UK taxpayer, as the number of peers has now surpassed 800 members. Each peer costs the taxpayer £30,000, according to estimates by the Electoral Reform Society (ERS).

But expenditure doesn’t stop there, as running costs for the Upper Chamber rose from £99million to £117.4million in 2018/19 according to ERS figures.

The ERS estimates the 36 new peers recently appointed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson will increase the overall amount to the taxpayer to £1.1million a year.

For signing into the chamber, members also receive a payment of £323 a day tax-free.

As a result, Express.co.uk is asking you whether the House of Lords should be scrapped?

Commenting on the data, a spokesperson for ERS told this website: “Voters will not be pleased with yet more unelected peers making their way in to claim expenses.

“The current system is ripe for exploitation, with peers having to do little more than sign in to claim their tax-free allowance.

“The fact that voters cannot hold them to account at the ballot box is a recipe for wanton disregard for taxpayers.

JUST IN: House of Lords true cost REVEALED: What UK taxpayer could fork out

“At the moment, the loophole-ridden, scrutiny-free expenses set-up just allows distrust to sink deeper into our democracy.”

The group has launched a petition to scrap the House of Lords, following the news that dozens of former Tory MPs, party donors and Brexiteers have been made peers.

The petition has received backing from over 400,000 people and calls for an end to new appointments to the Lords.

It argues the Upper Chamber should be replaced with a “fairly-elected chamber the reflects the UK”.

The 36 new peers include Tory party donor Michael Spicer, former party chairman Sir Patrick McLoughlin and Mr Johnson’s own senior adviser, Eddie Lister.

The Prime Minister’s brother Jo Johnson is also due to become a member of the Lords.

No10 did acknowledge the size of the House of Lords still needs addressing but said new members were needed to ensure the Lords “continues to fulfil its role in scrutinising and revising legislation”.



What a waste! EU spends THOUSANDS on huge banner promising economic recovery

Figures show the Union coughs up thousands of pounds every time it wants to hang the banner outside the Berlaymont building in the Belgian city. The HQ is currently displaying a huge banner promoting the EU’s Next Generation recovery plan for the bloc’s economy crippled by the coronavirus crisis.

The European Commission admitted production, installation and removal of the banner cost €11,000 (£9,000) in 2015.

This is actually 20 percent cheaper than the average cost of €14,000 (£12,000) it had cost in previous years.

Twitter users questioned the need for the “useless” banner.

One tweeted: “I wonder how much these useless banners cost. #NGEU #eumoney.”

Another said: “I think the rule should be that you are only allowed to stick a giant banner on the Berlaymont once the money has actually been agreed.”

Former European Commission President Jean Claude-Juncker previously defended the use of the banners saying: “The number of banners is now more reduced and more targeted to key policy initiatives and major events of the European Union interest.”

The Berlaymont’s current banner promises the blocs initiative to “help repair the economic and social damage brought by the coronavirus pandemic, kick-start European recovery, and protect and create jobs, the European Commission is proposing a major recovery plan for Europe based on harnessing the full potential of the EU budget”.

The European Commission tweeted: “The #NextGenerationEU recovery plan is the ambitious answer Europe needs. It will bring total financial firepower of the EU budget to €1.85 trillion.

“Its mission is to deliver a Union more climate neutral, digital and resilient than ever before. #StrongerTogether #EUbudget “

The building is on the Schuman roundabout in what is known as the European Quarter.

The architecture of the Berlaymont building is used in the Commission’s official emblem.



What a waste! EU spends THOUSANDS on huge banner promising economic recovery

Figures show the Union coughs up thousands of pounds every time it wants to hang the banner outside the Berlaymont building in the Belgian city. The HQ is currently displaying a huge banner promoting the EU’s Next Generation recovery plan for the bloc’s economy crippled by the coronavirus crisis.

The European Commission admitted production, installation and removal of the banner cost €11,000 (£9,000) in 2015.

This is actually 20 percent cheaper than the average cost of €14,000 (£12,000) it had cost in previous years.

Twitter users questioned the need for the “useless” banner.

One tweeted: “I wonder how much these useless banners cost. #NGEU #eumoney.”

Another said: “I think the rule should be that you are only allowed to stick a giant banner on the Berlaymont once the money has actually been agreed.”

Former European Commission President Jean Claude-Juncker previously defended the use of the banners saying: “The number of banners is now more reduced and more targeted to key policy initiatives and major events of the European Union interest.”

The Berlaymont’s current banner promises the blocs initiative to “help repair the economic and social damage brought by the coronavirus pandemic, kick-start European recovery, and protect and create jobs, the European Commission is proposing a major recovery plan for Europe based on harnessing the full potential of the EU budget”.

The European Commission tweeted: “The #NextGenerationEU recovery plan is the ambitious answer Europe needs. It will bring total financial firepower of the EU budget to €1.85 trillion.

“Its mission is to deliver a Union more climate neutral, digital and resilient than ever before. #StrongerTogether #EUbudget “

The building is on the Schuman roundabout in what is known as the European Quarter.

The architecture of the Berlaymont building is used in the Commission’s official emblem.



Alan Titchmarsh: TV gardener’s brilliant hack to save unwanted outdoor waste

The 71-year-old is renowned for his championing of the garden industry, and in recent times was a vocal critic of the Government’s decision to close garden centres and nurseries during the coronavirus lockdown. He argued that closing them at the peak of their productivity would destroy the industry, and eventually the move was overruled and shops in this field were among the first to open. But back in 2017, when fly-tipping in the UK had hit devastating proportions, Alan argued that gardeners should do more “even though when making home improvements you can’t help generating rubbish”.

Writing for the Daily Express at the time, the BBC star commented on exactly how renovators could get rid of their unwanted debris.

He said: “Any outdoor DIY leaves you with plenty of broken paving slabs, old timber or piles of rubble or topsoil and it all has to go somewhere.

“If you take down an old pergola, outbuilding or greenhouse you end up with all sorts of stuff you don’t want left lying about.

“In the old days you (or the workman who did the job for you) would most likely hire a skip or take the rubbish to a tip but nowadays it’s not so simple. Landfill sites are filling up fast and if you use contractors they have to pay to dispose of rubbish correctly, which bumps up your bill.

“Frankly a lot of garden ‘rubbish’ that is thrown away could be useful to someone else.”

He explained that some builders’ yards could be approached and given second hand materials, such as old skirting boards, surplus timbers or old slabs.

Antique shops, Alan admitted, also did a “roaring trade in ‘garden memorabilia”, with items such as old clay pots, wooden seed trays and old tools normally snapped up.

He added: “Surplus fencing posts can be used for supporting rows of runner beans, blackberries or raspberries.

JUST IN: Alan Titchmarsh garden revolution: How shock discovery reinvented home

Alan raged: “We shouldn’t be eating tomatoes and strawberries in the middle of winter.

“I fume when, in the middle of summer, my local supermarket is selling tomatoes from Spain when we are producing plenty of tasty fruits on the Isle of Wight.

“We really should support our local growers and do our bit to make this country more efficient at producing food.”

As well as his rallying cry, Alan also wanted people to change their diets and the way they eat in order to ensure the land in the UK is used to be more efficient in terms of food production.



EU waste laid bare: How Brussels spent £2million to 'tackle eurosceptics online'

As we are about to enter a new decade, the EU seems to be facing one of its worst existential crises since its inception. Euroscepticism is not something new. Ever since the efforts to achieve European integration started in the Fifties, political parties that made anti-integration their main platform started to mushroom throughout the continent. The current pandemic, lockdown measures and the economic crisis looming seem to be exacerbating divisive trends in Europe.

For example, a recent poll shows that 67 percent of Italians believe that being a member of the bloc is a disadvantage for Italy.

Moreover, this month, Italian Senator Gianluigi Paragone announced that he will soon launch a new party – and that the word “Italexit” could figure prominently in the new group’s logo.

He told Bloomberg: “The EU and the euro were imposed from on high.

“They’ve hurt the real economy, families and workers and small and medium-sized businesses.”

As many wonder whether the EU will be able to survive in the long run, unearthed reports reveal how the bloc responded to the rise of euroscepticism in 2013.

Amid fears that hostility against the EU was growing before the European Parliament elections in 2014, The Telegraph reported that the European Parliament was planning an unprecedented propaganda blitz.

Key to the new strategy were “public opinion monitoring tools” to “identify at an early stage whether debates of political nature among followers in social media and blogs have the potential to attract media and citizens’ interest”.

Spending on “qualitative media analysis” was to be increased by £1.7million and while most of the money was to be found in existing budgets an additional £787,000 was needed to be raised, despite calls for EU spending to reflect national austerity.

The publication quoted a confidential document agreed in 2012 as saying: “Particular attention needs to be paid to the countries that have experienced a surge in euroscepticism.

JUST IN: Nicola Sturgeon’s embarrassing independence blunder revealed

“Parliament’s institutional communicators must have the ability to monitor public conversation and sentiment on the ground and in real time, to understand ‘trending topics’ and have the capacity to react quickly, in a targeted and relevant manner, to join in and influence the conversation, for example, by providing facts and figures to deconstructing myths.”

Paul Nuttall, UKIP’s former deputy leader, attacked the proposals, as he claimed they violated the neutrality of the EU civil service by turning officials into a “troll patrol”, stalking the internet to make unwanted and provocative political contributions in social media debates.

He said: “Spending over a million pounds for EU public servants to become Twitter trolls in office hours is wasteful and truly ridiculous.

“It strikes me as bizarre that the EU administration is playing such an explicitly political role with a brief to target Eurosceptics – that’s code for parties like Ukip, and this is hardly neutral.”

Parliament officials declined to comment on the confidential documents and ongoing private discussions within the EU assembly’s administration.

However, a confidential document entitled “political guidelines for the institutional information and communication campaign” was agreed by the Parliament’s administrative “bureau” the year before.

The text highlighted a “sharp contrast” between “growing perception of endangered welfare, rising insecurity and financial instability” and EU promises to guarantee “freedom, security and social justice with a prosperous internal market”.

The document said: “The current economic and financial crisis together with high rates of unemployment, particularly among young people, is resulting in diminished trust in European institutions by citizens… it is evident that the EU’s image is suffering.

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“In order to reverse the perception that ‘Europe is the problem’, we need to communicate that the answer to existing challenges… is ‘more Europe’ not ‘less Europe’.”

In an entry for the European Parliament’s website, EU officials responded to The Telegraph’s report, saying: “Like any other parliament, the European Parliament makes use of media monitoring services to follow what issues are reported on in its fields of interest, including its own activities.

“Traditionally the focus was on the printed and audiovisual media, but as online media and social media platforms have become more and more important sources of information, the Parliament is looking into ways of upgrading its media monitoring to keep up with the new media landscape.

“In a separate effort, the Parliaments is looking into modernising its communication efforts, focussing on peoples’ real concerns and on entering into a real dialogue with citizens.”

The report added: “Beneath a lot of sound and fury about secret documents, wasted millions and sinister plot to ‘spy’ on eurosceptics, the EP is basically being accused of wanting to know what citizens think and of spending money in an effort to communicate with them effectively on whatever platforms they happen to be nowadays – two extremely counterintuitive ‘crimes’.”



What a waste! Sadiq Khan spent EYE-WATERING figure on boarding up Churchill statue

The monument of the former Prime Minister – who led the country through World War 2 – had to be protected after it was daubed with graffiti during the often violent protests around Parliament Square. Under Sir Winston’s name on the statue, protesters spray-painted “is a racist”. The Greater London Authority, run by Mr Khan, also built hoardings around several other statues in the capital over fears they too would be vandalised.

Now newly-released figures under the Freedom of Information Act show it cost £10,147 to put up the hoarding around Sir Winston’s statue.

Separately, an additional £21,115 was spent on protecting statues of former world leaders Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi.

The GLA also revealed it cost more than £3,000 to remove clean graffiti sprayed throughout Parliament and Trafalgar Squares.

The boarding around the statue of Sir Winston was put up on June 12 in the midst of the Black Lives Matter protests but was taken down six weeks later in time for the visit to London by French President Emmanuel Macron.

READ MORE: Meghan Markle’s extraordinary link to Winston Churchill exposed

The London Mayor defended the move to protect the monuments of the former leaders, describing it as a “wise” decision.

He explained fears the statues in the capital could become a ‘flashpoint for violence’ involving far-Right protesters.

This came after a statue of slave trader Edward Colston was torn down by angry protesters in Bristol just days earlier.

Mr Khan had also highlighted how the statues had previously been boarded up, including while Mr Johnson was himself Mayor of London.

The Prime Minister had also said it was “absurd and shameful” the statues were being targeted.

He said: “The statue of Winston Churchill in Parliament Square is a permanent reminder of his achievement in saving this country – and the whole of Europe – from a fascist and racist tyranny.

“It is absurd and shameful that this national monument should today be at risk of attack by violent protesters.

“Yes, he sometimes expressed opinions that were and are unacceptable to us today, but he was a hero, and he fully deserves his memorial.

“We cannot now try to edit or censor our past. We cannot pretend to have a different history.

“The statues in our cities and towns were put up by previous generations.”