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Environmental Studies Underway in Wisconsin

Competing studies are under way to assess air pollution from Wisconsin’s frac sand industry and examine the impact of frac sand mines on water, according to the LaCrosse Tribune.

The state’s environmental agency has begun to encourage new mines to install small particulate monitors, known as PM2.5, but it can’t require older ones to replace their current PM10 monitors. Data will be collected for a study.

Another plan is to study the cumulative impacts of groundwater pumping by both mining and irrigation. The five-year study will coordinate efforts by the county, the DNR, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the Wisconsin Geologic Natural History Survey, frac sand companies and local farmers. Scientists will use a network of groundwater monitoring wells and stream gauges to model the region’s water system.

The project will also model how mining’s re-shaping of the landscape will affect how precipitation recharges the groundwater.