Rhinelander eyes infrastructure funds to ease water system strain – WAOW

Picture courtesy of MGN

Picture courtesy of MGN
RHINELANDER, Wis. (WAOW) — One area community is hoping to benefit from the recently passed infrastructure law, with officials saying it could ease the strain on a limited water supply. 
“The new infrastructure bill is a huge step in the right direction,” said Martin Hanson, treasurer for the American Society of Civil Engineers Wisconsin Section. “It’s new money above what states normally get to manage and improve their infrastructure.”
Wisconsin is expected to get more than $140 million in federal funds. 
“I think it’s important while we have this one-time stimulus over the next five years the legislature needs to look seriously at how we fund infrastructure,” Hanson said.
The city of Rhinelander is hoping to benefit from the law after having to take wells offline, cutting the city’s water capacity by 25 percent after finding chemicals known as PFAS, which are considered “forever chemicals” because of how long they take to break down.
“For Rhinelander, we’re looking toward the infrastructure bill to provide some necessary resources for us to restore that well capacity,” said Zach Vruwink, Rhinelander city administrator.
He added that, if the city does get funds from the new law, it would allow Rhinelander to put a well back online, relieving the strain on the water system and allowing the city to grow.
“Clean drinking water is necessary both for public health reasons but also for industrial and economic development,” Vruwink said.
Hanson said the people in charge of delegating the funds have a tough job ahead as they decide where those federal dollars should go to best improve the state’s infrastructure. 
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