State compacts pollution data online

Faced with duplication in its efforts to provide information to businesses on pollution prevention and environmental compliance, Wisconsin has assembled the output of several different agencies into a single Web portal.

The Wisconsin Pollution Prevention Partnership (WIP2) is a collaboration among the state's Department of Commerce, its Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the University of Wisconsin-Extension, the public outreach arm of the university.

The Web site (wip2.uwex.edu) lists news, services, publications, staff contacts, compliance information and events in Wisconsin's pollution prevention programs.

"We normally have a number of agencies that deal with these [pollution and environmental] issues, but we found that businesses were stumbling between them in trying to get to what they wanted," said Lynn Persson, a business-sector specialist in the DNR's Bureau of Cooperative Environmental Assistance.

The Web portal combines various pieces of information that have to be constantly updated, and officials hope eventually to add a feature that will enable users to make online queries of the departments' databases. Only one of the agencies currently has a data-driven query capability, Persson said.

Officials also expect that the Web site will expand to include relevant information from other agencies. For example, WIP2 is negotiating with the state's Department of Agriculture to include information about pesticide management regulations and other issues, Persson said.

Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore. He can be reached at hullite@mindspring.com.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

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