Citizens File Challenge to DNR Permit for Ebert Dairy Enterprises — Expanding Factory Dairy in Kewaunee County Poses Risk to Health and Groundwater


Contact:  Nancy Utesch, (920) 388-0868
                James Saul, McGillivray Westerberg & Bender LLC, (608) 310-3560
                Valerie Baron, Environmental Integrity Project, (202) 263-4442
ALGOMA, WISCONSIN—Neighbors of a large concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) have filed a petition with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) seeking review of the water pollution permit issued to Ebert Dairy Enterprises LLC in Kewaunee County, Wisconsin. The permit waives pollution monitoring requirements while allowing an expansion and the use of experimental liquid manure spray irrigation.
The petitioners are concerned that an expansion of Ebert’s industrial dairy will result in the production and land-application of massive quantities of liquid manure and other wastes that could result in runoff into area lakes and streams, and may lead to groundwater contamination.  The petitioners are particularly concerned that DNR approved Ebert’s proposal to spray-irrigate liquid manure on two nearby fields without sufficient limitations to protect public health and water quality, and without groundwater quality monitoring required by the permit. The petitionersinclude ten individuals who live near or share property lines with the various Ebert facilities or its manure application fields, and will be directly affected by its operations.
“Spray irrigation of liquid manure, which the DNR acknowledges contains 160 known pathogens, puts all of us, especially our children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems at risk,” said Lee Luft, one of the petitioners.  “This type of waste disposal is unproven and irresponsible, especially since DNR has waived groundwater monitoring requirements.”
“Our customers increasingly complain of liquid manure odors, poor road conditions and algae-covered beaches,” said petitioner Robyn Mulhaney who, along with petitioner Susan Connor, owns The Flying Pig Gallery & Greenspace in Algoma.  “The expansion of Ebert’s Dairy, and especially its proposal to spray-irrigate liquid manure in our community, will further harm our business and will drive travelers around Kewaunee County, not through it.”
The petition, filed with the DNR on March 7, 2014, seeks review of various terms and conditions of the Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (WPDES) permit issued to Ebert Dairy Enterprises on January 8, 2014.  The dairy recently expanded by purchasing the Duescher Farms CAFO in Kewaunee, and DNR’s permit authorizes yet another expansion.  If the permit is upheld, by 2017 Ebert will generate and dispose of more than 55 million gallons of untreated liquid manure and wastewater each year.  Ebert operates a main facility on County Highway D in Algoma, and a heifer facility on CTH K in Kewaunee.

The petitioners are represented by the Madison law firm of McGillivray Westerberg & Bender LLC and the Washington, D.C.-based Environmental Integrity Project


1 Comment

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One response to “Citizens File Challenge to DNR Permit for Ebert Dairy Enterprises — Expanding Factory Dairy in Kewaunee County Poses Risk to Health and Groundwater

  1. Hank

    The Wisconsin DNR, under the Walker administration, has seemingly lost their way. This permit, as petitioner Lee Luft so aptly said, is irresponsible.

    We need to re-establish Wisconsin’s proud history in land stewardship. For one thing, the DNR Director should NOT be politically appointed, but rather chosen based upon demonstrated competence in conservation.

    Here’s DNR’s mission:

    To protect and enhance our natural resources:

    our air, land and water;
    our wildlife, fish and forests
    and the ecosystems that sustain all life.

    To provide a healthy, sustainable environment
    and a full range of outdoor opportunities.

    To ensure the right of all people
    to use and enjoy these resources
    in their work and leisure.

    To work with people
    to understand each other’s views
    and to carry out the public will.

    And in this partnership
    consider the future
    and generations to follow.


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