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Runoff into the Wisconsin River from Thomas Street construction is raising concerns

WAUSAU, Wis. (WAOW) — A video recorded by “Citizens For A Clean Wausau” shows a hose pumping out a cloudy liquid into the Wisconsin River from the Thomas Street construction site. Now residents in the area are concerned about the potential of the liquid being hazardous.

“Citizens For A Clean Wausau” brought the issue to the attention of Wausau Public Works and the DNR, who were unaware of the illegal activity.

“Our inspector had come out and noticed that discharge hose was directly placed over the wall into the river,” Wausau Public Works Director Eric Lindman said. “We addressed it with the contractor.”

After the issue was addressed with the private contractor after the first incident, Lindman said it happened again the next day.

“A different crew member had stretched the hose out beyond the construction limits directly into the river again,” Lindman stated.

The DNR does not allow direct discharges off of construction sites, but both the DNR and Public Works said the water wasn’t contaminated so there’s no threat to the public.

“There wasn’t anything contaminated or anything that was discharged,” Lindman added. “It was rain water mixed with sediment which creates that foaming runoff and that dark color.”

“We’ve had two department of health services toxicologists come and tell us that there’s no unreasonable risk to living in that Thomas Street corridor,” Alderperson Pat Peckham said. “The mistake that was made has been corrected and I hope the construction people who were responsible for it don’t do it again.”

Public Works said they’re expecting a conclusion to the DNR’s investigation by the end of the week.

Rashad Williams

News 9 Reporter

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