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DNR rescinds notice on Roth Feeder Pigs
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A Notice of Noncompliance (NON) issued by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to Roth Feeder Pigs, of rural Wauzeka has been rescinded.

Roth Feeder Pig, Inc. is a Confined Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) with over 1,000 animal units. State law requires that all CAFOs with 1,000 animal units or greater have a Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimi­nation System (WPDES) permit that includes a nutrient management plan and other restrictions needed to pro­tect surface and groundwater quality.

The DNR noncompliance letter on June 3, 2014 cited Roth’s nutrient management plans, which would have spread manure on fields with greater than allowable concentrations of phosphorus. State law limits the spreading of manure when phosphorus reached concentrations of greater then 200 parts per million.

After reviewing the Roth field logs and comparing it to the nutrient management plan, the DNR determined that manure had not been spread on the field and therefore Roth Feeder Pig, Inc. was in compliance.

How did this happen? Inconsistencies in the documentation was the cause, according to DNR waste water specialist Shawn Esser.

“Some areas of the plan stated that manure would be spread on those fields (where phosphorus exceeded the limits) and other parts stated that it wouldn’t,” Esser said. “We compared the plan against the spreading logs and found that it had in fact not been spread.”

The discrepancy occurred because when the plan was made the test results for the fields were not yet in, according to A.V. Roth, the owner of Roth Feeder Pigs.

“When it came back high, we changed our plans,” Roth explained. “We won’t put on manure (in those fields) this year. Our only amendment will be nitrogen to draw down the phosphorus.”

It is possible to get special permission from the DNR to spread on a field that had tested high, Roth noted, though he did not plan to do so at this time.

Concerns over possible groundwater contamination by the CAFO have been raised regularly by Crawford Stewardship Project (CSP).

“We have been correcting the documentation for a long time,” said CSP Co-coordinator Forest Jahnke. “More and more fields each year are at or over the limits for phosphorus, creating greater potential for runoff and contamination. This trend is only going to continue to increase, which is what we originally predicted when this (CAFO) was permitted. It is far too many animals on far too little land.”

CSP maintains water quality testing data on the creeks and streams near the operation.

“Our citizen-based volunteer water quality monitoring program has found increased nutrient and bacteria levels including e-coli as well as an unusual antibiotic-resistant bacteria in surface waters near the CAFO”, said CSP Co-coordinator Kathy Byrne who manages the monitoring program.

The group will continue to monitor the operation and surrounding waters.