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Harsdorf introduces bill concerning "floating toilets"

These floating toilets are the type that would be placed along the river in the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway if a bill introduced by Sen. Sheila Harsdorf is adopted by the Wisconsin Legislature. Submitted photo

Floating toilets on the St. Croix River development, restictions around an airport in Pierce County and tax credits for dairy producers are among the issues addressed in bills introduced Oct. 28 by Sen. Sheila Harsdorf.

Each of these bills has been referred to committee. Although the Legislature is no longer in session, the hope is that they will be acted on in the next scheduled floor session that begins in January, said Harsdorf, R-River Falls, Monday.

Senate Bill 262, which would allow the National Park Service to place a pier with a floating toilet along the river in the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, has been referred to the Committee on Natural Resources and Environment.

SB-265, relating to local airports and authority to enact aerial approach ordinances, has been referred to the Committee on Transportation and Elections. This bill was cosponsored by Assembly members Dean Knudson, R-Hudson, and Warren Petryk, R-Eleva.

SB-260, which would allow members of a dairy cooperative to claim manufacturing facility investment credits in the next taxable year, was referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Forestry, and Higher Education.

Floating toilets

SB-262 would create an exemption to general permit requirements and allow the National Park Service to place a pier with floating toilets in the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources officials asked her to introduce this bill, said Harsdorf.

"There's a real problem with people using the islands (in the St. Croix River) for restroom facilities," said Harsdorf, pointing out that people resort to other options when there are no bathrooms.

Several years ago, the Hudson Rotary clubs attempted to raise money and get permission to build a picnic shelter and restrooms at the end of the old toll bridge dike road.

By the summer of 2006, Hudson had secured DNR approval and a $100,000 grant for the shelter and restrooms.

According to a Hudson Star-Observer report at the time, DNR workers were pleased that the city was providing toilet facilities for boaters and other users of the sandbar beach and shared the city's concern that people were polluting the river by using trees and bushes as toilets.

But as the scope of the project grew, so did concern about the cost and about law enforcement in the area, and that project stalled.

SB-262 specifies that the pier will contain "a floating toilet facility that meets technical specifications approved by the National Park Service for floating toilet facilities." The pier would be owned and operated by the Park Service and placed along the federally owned shoreline.

Judy Wiff

Judy Wiff has been regional editor for RiverTown’s Wisconsin newspapers since 1996. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and sociology from UW-River Falls. She has worked as a reporter for several weekly newspapers in Wisconsin.

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