Your Drinking Water, January 13, 2022

Learn What is Coming Our Way Along with Richfield Dairy

July 2021 the Wisconsin Supreme Court gave the Wisconsin DNR the authority to require off-site nitrate monitoring wells and to limit animal unit numbers (the number of cows, heifers, calves, etc. housed on a given site) when they issue Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits (WPDES).  To be built and to operate in Wisconsin, each concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) is required to have a WPDES permit.  

The Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision gives the DNR the authority to require monitoring for groundwater contamination like nitrate and other agricultural chemicals and pathogens, While the new law grants DNR the authority to require monitoring, it does not mandate monitoring in every case.  The DNR has wide discretion on when to require monitoring.  The Richfield Dairy will be operating and spreading manure on sites that are very susceptible to contamination.  It is critical that groundwater monitoring be required to protect the local groundwater resources and the safety of water wells supplying private homes.  The Richfield Dairy has applied to renew its WPDES permit that it needs to operate the dairy New WPDES permits are individualized to address the situation facing each community.  A monitoring plan may be required, or not be required depending on the geology, soil type, number of cattle, etc. at each site.  Public input is needed to ensure the DNR protects local groundwater, the environment, and the health and safety of the public.

Given that Richfield Dairy is to be located directly west of the Waushara County line, the manure produced will have a high impact in Waushara County.  To help us all better understand the impact of the Dairy to our drinking water, Pleasant Lake Management District hired John Jansen, Collier Consulting, to explore the result manure spreading in our neighborhood will have on local drinking water.

John Jansen will be sharing the result of his study at an educational event on January 13, 2022 at 7:00 pm.  The goal of the meeting is to inform western Waushara County residents of the potential danger of nitrate pollution to their drinking water wells that will likely follow the construction, operation, and accompanying manure spreading of Richfield Dairy in our neighborhood.  You may attend the meeting in person at the Coloma at the Community Center, 155 N Front St, Coloma, WI 54930 or online via Webex at this link.

You can also join by:
Meeting number (access code): 2490 145 0649
Meeting password: mCEKt3mZQ74

John Jansen, Collier Consulting, presentation will focus on where Richfield Dairy will be spreading manure, how much they will be spreading, how the accompanying nitrate pollution will move nitrates toward the Towns of Hancock, Plainfield, Oasis, and Coloma.  There are 200+ private wells in the spreading area. Plus, additional drinking water wells and two municipal wells in the Village of Coloma in the path of the nitrate plume.  At this meeting, John Jansen will also share a proposed monitoring well plan.  If required by the DNR, the cost of the drinking water well monitoring network will belong to Richfield Dairy and be part of the construction and operation expenses of the Dairy.   

If we want to protect our drinking water, we will need to let the Wisconsin DNR know we want a drinking water monitoring plan included in the Richfield Dairy WPDES permit. 

Please join us to see what we can expect and how we can protect our drinking water.

Pleasant Lake Management District