Significant Public Interest Can Force a Hearing on a New Waste Discharge Permit

Interested?

The following public notice appeared in the Green Bay Press Gazette on February 8, 2012. As a citizen of Kewaunee County you have the right and no later than March 8 to object in writing to the re-issuance of this permit to spread liquid manure and waste water on the land. All that is required to force a public hearing on the matter is for 5 people to write to Casey Jones, DNR Oshkosh Service Center, 625 E. County Road Y, Oshkosh, WI 54901 and object to the approval of this permit.

We’ve even drafted a sample letter for you to copy, fill in and send. Not only does the letter include the required information, but it also has some facts about how factory farms are adversely affecting your community–wherever you live in Kewaunee County. Feel free to add any personal comments to our draft, especially if you live near the facility in question.

After reading the notice below, please consider sending your written objection as soon as possible. Let’s show the DNR how many people really object to the potential pollution of our air and the surface and ground waters by factory farms.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

STATE OF WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES
PUBLIC NOTICE OF INTENT TO REISSUE A WISCONSIN POLLUTANT DISCHARGE ELIMINATION SYSTEM (WPDES)

PERMIT No.WI-0062057-03-0

Permittee and Facility Where Discharge Occurs: Dairy Dreams, LLC, E3576 Cardinal Rd., Casco, WI 54205

Receiving Water and Location: Surface waters and groundwater within the Kewaunee River Watersheds in Kewaunee County

Brief Facility Description: Dairy Dreams is a currently permitted Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation. Dairy Dreams is owned and operated by Don Niles and John Pagels. The farm currently has about 4500 animal units (2900 milking and dry; 1000 heifers and calves). Dairy Dreams does not have any major expansion plans, but may build a heifer/dry cow barn and manure storage over the next permit term. Engineering documentation will be required to be submitted for heifer manure storage and feed storage area runoff control system. Dairy Dreams LLC has a total of about 4800 acres available for land application of manure and process wastewater.

Permit Drafter: Casey Jones, DNR Oshkosh Service Center, 625 E. County Road Y, Oshkosh, WI 54901, (920) 303- 5426, Casey.Jones@Wisconsin.gov

The Department has tentatively decided that the above specified WPDES permit should be reissued.

Persons wishing to comment on or object to the proposed permit action, or to request a public hearing, may write to the Department of Natural Resources at the permit drafter’s address. All comments or suggestions received no later than 30 days after the publication date of this public notice will be considered along with other information on file in making a final decision regarding the permit. Anyone providing comments in response to this public notice will receive a notification of the Department’s final decision when the permit is issued. Where designated as a reviewable surface water discharge permit, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is allowed up to 90 days to submit comments or objections regarding this permit determination. If no comments are received on the proposed permit from anyone, including U.S. EPA, the permit will be issued as proposed.

The Department may schedule a public informational hearing if requested by any person and shall schedule a public informational hearing if a petition requesting a hearing is received from 5 or more persons or if response to this notice indicates significant public interest pursuant to s. 283.49, Stats. Requests for a public informational hearing shall state the following: the name and address of the person(s) requesting the hearing; the interest in the proposed permit of the person(s) requesting the hearing; the reasons for the request; and the issues proposed to be considered at the hearing.

Information on file for this permit action, including the draft permit and fact sheet (if required), may be inspected and copied at the permit drafter’s office, Monday through Friday (except holidays), between 9:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Please call the permit drafter for directions to their office location, if necessary. Information on this permit action may also be obtained by calling the permit drafter at (920) 303-5426 or by writing to the Department. Reasonable costs (usually 20 cents per page) will be charged for copies of information in the file other than the public notice and fact sheet. Permit information is also available on the internet at: http://dnr.wi.gov/org/water/wm/ww/drafts/pubnot.htm. Pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act, reasonable accommodation, including the provision of informational material in an alternative format, will be made to qualified individuals upon request.

PUBLISHING NEWSPAPER: Green Bay Press Gazette, PO Box 23430, Green Bay, WI 54307-3430 Date Notice Issued: February 8, 2012

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Below is a sample letter:

(Date)

I, _______(your name here)__________, at ______(address)_______________________________, object to the reissue of  PERMIT No.WI-0062057-03-0 and request a public hearing to consider my objections. As a citizen of Kewaunee County, I am concerned about the water and air quality in the area around this facility. The preliminary decision to approve this permit by the Department of Natural Resources I believe is premature and should be reconsidered until such evidence can be shown that there is no chance of polluting area streams, rivers and lakes (including Lake Michigan) and that air quality will not be adversely affected by the storage and spreading of manure from this facility. Things to consider at a public hearing are the number of people affected within 10, 25 and 50 miles of the facility.  It is documented that contamination either from runoff or leakage of storage pits to wells and ground water aquifers can occur depending on soil condition, rainfall or snowmelt, karst topography, proximity of spreading near direct conduits to ground water and numerous other factors. Furthermore, evidence of all chemicals contained in liquid manure should be made public. I have the right to know what specific and potentially hazardous substances would be spread on the land and even carried airborne from the waste products at this facility. Also to be considered is the economic impact of adverse air and water quality in the area. Such impacts include general quality of life, potential resale of property, potential loss of business and tourism, health and wellness (both short- and long-term), quality of potable water supply to all residents within 10 miles of the facility. According to the EPA, a single 1,200 pound dairy cow produces the equivalent amount of waste as 23 humans. The volume of waste produced by just the 2,900 milking and dry cows at the Dairy Dreams facility equals that of 66,700 humans or a city about the size of Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Cities are required to have adequate waste processing facilities to assure that any water returned to the environment is safe. I feel that factory farms should be held to the same standards and that the DNR should have citation authority to enforce violations against the environment and the public. I believe these are reasonable issues to be considered before granting this or any permit requested by factory farms to store and spread their waste materials.

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2 Comments

Filed under General Information

2 responses to “Significant Public Interest Can Force a Hearing on a New Waste Discharge Permit

  1. Nancy

    While the DNR is busy “streamlining the permitting process” communities like Kewaunee, its citizens, and its natural resources are paying the price. It’s time that the DNR , when allowing these permits to go through, sees fit to also seeing that the proper workforce and money is allotted to oversee these enterprises with the proper enforcement and regulations that are necessary to protect human health and the environment. If the DNR is unable to perform its duties, then further permitting should be put on hold until this broken system can once again fulfill its mission.

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  2. Herman H.

    I agree with the above comment. Both the DNR and DATCP are broken and only serve the interest of big Ag. As a tax paying citizen, I keep hearing how the DNR does not have the manpower or money to enforce laws already on the books.
    If environmental protection is a lost concept, then both entities need to be reconstructed so that they can be held more accountable for dereliction of duty. Keeping political meddling out of the picture would be a very good start.

    Like

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