Wisconsin Citizen Groups Demand Investigation of Drinking Water Contamination from Factory Dairy

Environmentalists provide evidence to federal and state authorities that widespread water contamination may be linked to Kinnard Farms in Kewaunee County
Media Contacts:  Tom Pelton, Director of Communications, Environmental Integrity Project (443) 510-2574 ortpelton@environmentalintegrity.org
Lynn Utesch, Kewanee Citizens Advocating for Responsible Environmental Stewardship (Kewanee CARES) (920) 388-0868
Dean Hoegger, Clean Water Action Council of Northeast Wisconsin (920)421-8885
April 8, 2015 – Citizen organizations and environmentalists today urged federal and state authorities to investigate and take all necessary enforcement actions against a massive dairy factory farm in northeast Wisconsin that may be contaminating local residential wells and polluting a stream that feeds Lake Michigan.
The Environmental Integrity Project (EIP), Kewaunee Citizens Advocating Responsible Environmental Stewardship (Kewaunee CARES), and Clean Water Action Council of Northeast Wisconsin sent a letter today to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The letter contained evidence that Kinnard Farms Inc.’s practice of spreading millions of gallons of liquid manure on local fields every year is contributing to bacteria and nitrate pollution in ground water, drinking water wells, and Casco Creek, which drains into Lake Michigan.  The groups are urging officials to investigate further and require Kinnard to cease and clean up any unlawful pollution.
“Town of Lincoln residents deserve to have the long-standing pollution in their community addressed, and enforcement action taken against one of the known contributors to the widespread contamination taking place in this karst region in Kewaunee County.  This contamination has a direct impact upon citizen’s accessibility to clean drinking water, and is accompanied by the threats to human health and severe quality of life issues.  Rural residents live daily with the threats of contaminated water in their homes, the financial stresses of buying bottled water, and the continued costs of well testing, which is a financial burden to many, while state and federal regulatory agencies do not aid in assistance,” said Lynn Utesch, family farmer and member of Kewaunee CARES.
Dean Hoegger of Clean Water Action Council stated, “With over a third of Kewaunee County wells tested showing contamination from bacteria or nitrates, or both, it is with utmost urgency that the Wisconsin DNR and the EPA must take action to protect the waters of Kewaunee County.  All of the county’s citizens have rights to these waters as an unpolluted natural resource.”
“Spreading massive quantities of liquid manure on fields vulnerable to groundwater contamination threatens public health and the environment, and widespread drinking water contamination near Kinnard is a major concern,” said Tarah Heinzen, attorney for the Environmental Integrity Project.  “EPA and Wisconsin should act immediately to protect the drinking water of local residents and water quality of Lake Michigan.”
Kinnard Farms is an industrial-scale dairy operation in the Town of Lincoln with plans to expand further.  Today, the business houses 5,822 animal units and generates about 35 million gallons of manure a year, which it spreads on 5,000 acres of nearby farmland.  Kinnard has a permit that will allow it to expand to 8,710 animal units by late 2017, after which it will generate about 70 million gallons of manure a year.
“Allowing Kinnard Farms to increase its herd size by 50 percent would be extremely detrimental in light of the problems with providing safe disposal of the millions of gallons of waste from the current herd,” added Hoegger. 
Kewaunee County has 15 large factory farms (also known as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations or CAFOs) and is highly susceptible to groundwater contamination because the local bedrock is porous, with cavities and fissures that allow rapid movement of pollutants from soil to groundwater.  Nonetheless, these facilities’ permits prohibit fecal contamination of residential wells.
A 2014 survey of 10 Kewaunee County wells found that 70 percent of the wells were positive for bacterial contamination, and 30 percent had contaminants specific to cattle.   Although nutrient pollution and contaminated wells are county-wide problems, well tests show significant pollution in the area around Kinnard and its spreading fields.  In fact, in October 2014, Administrative Law Judge Jeffrey Boldt declared that the extraordinarily high incidence of contaminated drinking water wells in the area surrounding Kinnard and its waste application fields is attributable to a “massive regulatory failure.”  
The three groups are asking EPA and Wisconsin officials to investigate what they believe are violations of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and the Clean Water Act.
To read a copy of the letter to EPA and Wisconsin officials, visit: http://bit.ly/1DjRm44
The Environmental Integrity Project is a 12-year-old nonprofit, nonpartisan organization based in Washington, D.C., that is dedicated to holding polluters and governments accountable to protect public health across the U.S.
Kewanee CARES (Citizens Advocating Responsible Environmental Stewardship)  is a nonprofit organization that advocates for stewardship of the land, air and water to provide a thriving environment, economy and community in Kewaunee County, Wisconsin.
The Clean Water Action Council of Northeast Wisconsin is a non-profit corporation organized to promote a safe, healthy, and sustainable environment in northeast Wisconsin, to educate and inform  members and the public on environmental issues, and to take action on  behalf of members and the public to protect the environment and human health.

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Thank you for visiting Kewaunee Cares blog. Our efforts in Kewaunee County and statewide have ramped up over the last 6 months. To provide information to a broader audience, we have stopped blog postings on this site to team up with the efforts of Restore Kewaunee.

All past blog posting will remain as an educational archive and a history of the pollution problems we have, and continue to, endure.

Visit Restorekewaunee.com for additional information.

Follow Restore Kewaunee on Facebook for daily updates.

Thank you,

Kewaunee Cares

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April 4, 2015 · 10:28 am

“Better things come from people coming together”

Bobbi, who lives just north of Algoma, shared this note most recently on our efforts here in northeast Wisconsin in addressing some of the serious environmental issues we are facing. I think Bobbi’s simple note speaks volumes and I wanted to share her words with others.

Here is what Bobbi wrote:

“When people come together anything is possible. Communicating and networking with our neighbors, not only for prosperity, but for the strength in numbers. I used to think that being a loner was ok, [which I could easily be]. It’s not ok; it puts us at risk.”

“Better things come from people coming together.”

Thank you Bobbi, and everyone who has “come together” for the common cause of the collected wealth of our community and protection of our natural resources. Our strength is in numbers, Bobbi is right—

“Better things come from people coming together”.




Thank you!

Kewaunee CARES   Citizens Advocating Responsible Environmental Stewardship

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Foam looks good on a cold glass of beer…not so much on Lake Michigan.

A large raft of foam rides the waves to the shoreline on Lake Micigan south of Algoma,WI today. With all of the rain and runoff lately, it’s not surprising, yet disturbing, this is happening.





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Industrial Agriculture—too costly for the Earth

“Globalized industrialized food is not cheap: it is too costly for the Earth, for the farmers, for our health. The Earth can no longer carry the burden of groundwater mining, pesticide pollution, disappearance of species and destabilization of the climate. Farmers can no longer carry the burden of debt, which is inevitable in industrial farming with its high costs of production. It is incapable of producing safe, culturally appropriate, tasty, quality food. And it is incapable of producing enough food for all because it is wasteful of land, water and energy. Industrial agriculture uses ten times more energy than it produces. It is thus ten times less efficient.”
― Vandana Shiva — Author of Stolen Harvest, Earth Democracy, Water Wars, Soil Not Oil, Biopiracy, Staying Alive, Manifestos on the Future of Food and Seed, The Violence


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Sound Science Is Deception

Submitted by Jim Goodman, dairy farmer from Wonewoc, Wisconsin

Food is big business, everyone eats. Global food production is about profit.

In the North, store shelves are always full. It’s cheap, were told it’s safe, healthy and suddenly it’s sustainable, because sustainable sells.

Sustainable agriculture used to be defined by peasant farmers, by organic farmers; farmers who avoided using pesticides on their crops, farmers who avoided using antibiotics and hormones on their livestock, farmers who relied on integrated farming practices to make their farms regenerative — sustainable.

Now, Monsanto bills itself as a leader and innovator in sustainable agriculture. Elanco tells us technology yields sustainability and Elanco president Jeff Simmons tells us that “access to safe, proven, efficiency-enhancing technologies ensures: the three rights”, Food as a basic human right, Choice as a consumer right, and Sustainability as an environmental right.

What, biotechnology giants are standing up for the rights of people and the environment? The same corporations who for decades have ridiculed consumer protests and environmental concerns because their technology, their GMO’s (Genitally Modified Organisms), their crop protection chemicals, their seed patents were all based on “sound science”?

But, “sound science” has no scientific definition. It does not mean peer reviewed, or well documented research. “Sound science” is only a term, an ideological term, used to support a particular point of view, policy statement or a technology. “Sound science” is little more than the opinions of so called “experts” representing corporate interests.

For example, if the public has concerns about the environment, our health or the safety of our food after  having been forced to accept scientific advancements like agricultural biotechnology, highly toxic pesticides, or “fracking”, our concerns are blown off because they are not based on “sound science”.

Without doubt, these practices are, inherently unsafe and in the case of GMO’s, ineffective as well. In the end, they are of benefit only to the industries that own the technology. And because our society is so afraid of doing anything that might anger industry, or give industry a reason to outsource more jobs, science that does not support industry is not ”sound science”.

Simply put, “sound science” always supports the position of industry over people; corporate profit over food safety, the environment and public health. So when someone says something is based on “sound science”, get ready to be duped.

“Sound science “is really all about deception.  It paints a picture that is hard to resist, a story we want to believe. We wanted to believe that smoking was good for us, that nuclear energy was completely safe, that dioxin was not a problem —- all stories backed by “sound science”.

Farmers wanted to believe that if they bought into the GMO system, they would actually make money, but the dream turned on them. Patented seeds, the cost of fertilizer and chemicals pushed the small farmers out of business, their farms gobbled up by the corn/soy mono-culture that made Monsanto, Cargill and all the other multi-national agri-business corporations rich.

Peasant farmers in the global South were pushed off their land, rain forests were cleared to grow more corn and soy and rural communities could no longer feed themselves.

Simmons also tells us, hunger should not be happening in the United States. He is dedicating his life to ensure that everyone has food security. “ There is no issue more important in the next seven years than food security. A healthier, more sustainable, more peaceful world is possible. We’ve talked enough. We have enough technology. Now is the time to act.”

So, people are hungry because there is not enough food. “Sound science” and technology are needed to grow more food and the owners of the seed patents, proprietary chemicals, the grain processors and meat packers will give the technology and food to those who need it?


People are hungry because they are poor and they are poor because the corporate system has outsourced their jobs, ruined their local economy and taken their land away.

Farmers cannot feed people when seeds are patented and cost more than they are worth.

Farmers cannot feed people when the crop protection chemicals they must use poison the water and the air.

Farmers cannot feed people when local markets are destroyed by a global food system and when the “sound science” they are told will make them profitable and help them feed the hungry turns out to be a lie.

GMO’s are safe and they hold the promise of feeding the world. Really? On vary rare occasions the “sound science” gets debunked by those behind the science.

GMO’s will not feed the world “If anyone tells you that GM is going to feed the world, tell them that it is not… To feed the world takes political and financial will.” – Steve Smith, head of GM company Novartis Seeds UK (now Syngenta), public meeting on proposed local GM farm scale trial, Tittleshall, Norfolk, UK, 29 March 2000 .






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“It Takes A Rich Land To Support A Democracy” — Sterling North


Others  wrote in 1937, at the height of our Depression, frequently calling attention to the parallel between impoverished land and impoverished people.  In 1938 Sterling North of the Chicago Daily News wrote, “Ardently as I have scanned the writings of Europe’s half –pint Napoleons I find but one undoubted truth uttered between the two of them.  Each has said in effect, “It takes a rich land to support a democracy.’”  North continued, “Every time you see a dust cloud, or a muddy stream, a field scarred by erosion or a channel choked with silt, you are witnessing the passing of American democracy…The crop called Man can wither like any other…”

-Sterling North

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