Update November 2013:
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The second week of our administrative hearing is now finished. That week was focused was on waste spreading and ground water contamination. Our goal is to see that the spreading of CAFO waste is tightly managed to prevent runoff and that our groundwater is monitored by the placement of effective monitoring wells to ensure public health and healthy waters. You may recall that we brought three challenges against the Richfield CAFO; 1)The high capacity wells and their impact on Pleasant Lake along with the headwaters of 4 trout streams; Chaffee, Tagatz, Fordham and Little Roche a Cri, 2) The WPDES permit and spreading of CAFO waste and 3) The plans and specifications (construction) of the CAFO facility including better leak barriers and leak detection. We convene once again for week three in mid-December.
We heard over and over again how we the people should trust the CAFO owners and the DNR. Unfortunately, they have shown us that we cannot trust them and our expert witnesses had no problem pointing out their deficiencies.
But there is some good news in all of this. The judge remains very attentive and engaged in the process. He was able to hear our concerns about how the regulations (or the way they are interpreted) are not protecting our waters or the public interest. We heard many of our expert witnesses disagree with the findings of the DNR and the dairy about the construction requirements of the site and potential problems with pollutants leaking to surface and ground water. Testimony was also given on the impact of the waste spreading and ways to ensure that public water is protected. And we recently learned that the high pressure gas line that runs through the property, one over which we voiced significant concern, will be moved.
While the hearings took place FOCS members decided to make a difference on the ground. The week of the hearing a FOCS team went down the Mecan River cleaning up garbage along the way. Another team conducted monitoring of Tagatz Creek as a part of the River Keepers program of Trout Unlimited. A photo tour of neighboring lakes affected by excessive ground water pumping was also conducted including nearby Long Lake, Pine Lake, Fish Lake and Lake Huron. If you don’t believe that there is a problem check out the photos and other important updates at www.Facebook.com/FriendsofCS. This tour provided a stark reminder as to why this fight is so important.
Friends of the Central Sands Releases New Documentary:
Not Standing Still: The Degradation of Wisconsin's Waters
Water Reality a huge success! Read more here