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DNR permit questions seen as unanswered
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                     Gays Mills

Editor –

Mark Cain, Joe Baeten, and Tom Bauman of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) ran last Friday's public hearing on the Roth Feeder Pig Five-year Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination Systems (WPDES) permit. Just over 30 area residents filled the room in Wauzeka's Century Hall.

In his overview of the permit, Mark Cain explained that this WPDES permit is a “zero discharge permit,” though when it comes to monitoring and enforcement, he noted that it is essentially a “self-reporting system.” Many in the audience were also surprised to hear both the DNR and the owner, AV Roth, claim that there is no plan to expand the Confined Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) or increase the manure output.

This was surprising because according to the revised Nutrient Management Plan (NMP) submitted – after the first was found to be incomplete and sent back by the DNR – the estimated amount of manure produced had more than doubled to 3.1 million gallons of liquid plus another 264 tons of solid manure. Many of the public comments heard commented on this notable increase in manure and the question was asked how this could be, if there was no planned expansion of the CAFO. In total, eleven members of the public spoke at the hearing, ten with concerns and questions and one in support of the operation. Increased phosphorus levels in a number of fields was also stated as a concern, with many fields requiring retesting this fall. None of the questions or discrepancies were addressed during the hearing, and individuals were left trying to get their concerns addressed as the DNR wrapped up their presentation equipment.

Crawford Stewardship Project (CSP) will continue working with the public, Roth Feeder Pig, and the DNR to clarify the situation and that the DNR does not permit an expansion, as the current NMP states. Had there been a substantive prior conversation to this hearing between CSP and the DNR, as in past years based on the annual expert review of the NMP funded by CSP, many of these issues could have been addressed before-hand. However, CSP's review was ignored and the public is now left with a deadline of 4 p.m. on Friday, July 31, to submit comments to the DNR before a final decision is reached. Comments can be sent to DNR Wastewater Engineer, Mark Cain at: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Bureau of Watershed Management, 3911 Fish Hatchery Road, Fitchburg, WI  53711 or or 608-275-3252

For more information please contact Crawford Stewardship Project at, 608-632-2183, or 43188 Guthrie Dr., Rolling Ground, Wisconsin.

- Forest Jahnke

Crawford Stewardship Project Coordinator