Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


UW helps out Madison’s Italian sister city

A delegation from the Italian city of Mantova visited the
University of Wisconsin campus to fight a water-pollution problem
in Madison’s sister city’s chain of lakes.

Officials from Mantova, one of Madison’s 10 sister cities,
paid UW water-pollution and pollution-prevention researchers and
professors a visit to discuss how the Italian commission can create
a cleaner chain of lakes.

Although Madison and Mantova are sister cities, Dr. William
Sonzogni, a researcher at UW’s Limnology Laboratory and
director of the Environmental Health Laboratory, said the visit
could be attributed to the similar geographical makeup of the two


“They have a lake system similar to ours in
Madison,” Sonzogni said. He said Monday’s visit with
the Italians consisted of a description of Madison’s chain of

A question-and-answer session on how to use the suggestions
effectively at home will take place today.

Sonzogni added Mantova’s water quality is significantly
worse than that in Madison, prompting the need for outside help.
Mantova has had at least 1,000 years of water-level regulation,
diversion and industry alteration, whereas dense human population
has only touched Madison’s chain in the past two

Though Madison and Mantova have similar characteristics, there
were at least two other reasons why UW was chosen to host the
foreign officials.

Simonetta Tunesi, an independent consultant hired by Mantovian
officials, is also a graduate from UW’s water-chemistry

Frank Alfano, coordinator of the sister-city program, said when
Tunesi came to Mantova to work on water quality, she said she would
make a return trip to Madison, visit with old professors and
brainstorm possible solutions.

The other reason the Italians came to UW instead of other
college campuses is Madison’s history of limnology, or the
study of lakes. Sonzogni said UW actually created the field in the
late 1800s, when university researchers started investigating Lake

“It all started here in Wisconsin,” Sonzogni said.
He added since that time, researchers are almost constantly
surveying the surrounding bodies of water.

Sonzogni also said the Italian delegation was surprised at the
amount of data UW has collected on the Lake Mendota chain.

“Our chain of lakes [has] often been characterized as the
… most studied chain of lakes in the world,” Sonzogni
said. Sonzogni added the Italian city was the only area that sought
out UW’s expertise in lake research, saying UW researchers
have also visited regions in Russia and Africa to investigate lake

Alfano said this visit might only be the first phase of helping
to clean up the Italian lakes, and no real change is likely to take
place for several years.

Alfano also noted Madison and Mantova might have a trade mission
in the distant future, where the two cities will send envoys to
look at business opportunities.

Even though Madison sees benefits in culture, food and language
from the Montavian sister-city program, Alfano said the
lake-cleanup project could be the best benefit to come out of the
bi-city mission.

“If we could initiate the cleanup of Mantova’s
lakes, that could probably be the greatest thing [we get out of the
sister-city program],” Alfano said. “Their kids,
grandkids and even their children … will get to enjoy the

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