Expanding Factory Farm Poses Risk to Health and Groundwater

ALGOMA, WISCONSIN—Neighbors of a large concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) have filed a petition with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) seeking review of the water pollution permit issued to Ebert Dairy Enterprises LLC in Kewaunee County, Wisconsin. The permit waives pollution monitoring requirements while allowing an expansion and the use of experimental liquid manure spray irrigation.

The petitioners are concerned that an expansion of Ebert’s industrial dairy will result in the production and land-application of massive quantities of liquid manure and other wastes that could result in runoff into area lakes and streams, and may lead to groundwater contamination. The petitioners are particularly concerned that DNR approved Ebert’s proposal to spray-irrigate liquid manure on two nearby fields without sufficient limitations to protect public health and water quality, and without groundwater quality monitoring required by the permit. The petitioners include ten individuals who live near or share property lines with the various Ebert facilities or its manure application fields, and will be directly affected by its operations.

“Spray irrigation of liquid manure, which the DNR acknowledges contains 160 known pathogens, puts all of us, especially our children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems at risk,” said Lee Luft, one of the petitioners. “This type of waste disposal is unproven and irresponsible, especially since DNR has waived groundwater monitoring requirements.”
“Our customers increasingly complain of liquid manure odors, poor road conditions and algae-covered beaches,” said petitioner Robyn Mulhaney who, along with petitioner Susan Connor, owns The Flying Pig Gallery & Greenspace in Algoma. “The expansion of Ebert’s Dairy, and especially its proposal to spray-irrigate liquid manure in our community, will further harm our business and will drive travelers around Kewaunee County, not through it.”

The petitioners are represented by the Madison law firm of McGillivray Westerberg & Bender LLC and the Washington, D.C. -based  Environmental Integrity Project.