"With a plan to expand a concentrated animal feeding operation in the town of Rock Creek, a Dunn County committee believes it is time for it to determine what impacts such operations could have on the county. The Planning Resources and Development Committee on Tuesday decided to ask county staff to look into the issue of concentrated animal feeding operations and report back on their findings. Committee Chairman Tom Quinn said he has had numerous calls from citizens and other county supervisors about what the county’s role is — if it has one — in such operations....."
Emerald Dairy originally installed a state-of-the-art digester to separate manure solids & liquids in hopes of reducing contaminates in liquids being released back to the environment and solids to be re-used for bedding for the cows. However, the digester has proven problematic, with the equipment starting fires on two separate occasions - once in 2009 in which it destroyed other equipment housed in the same building and also in 2014, rendering the digester useless, thus it was permanently taken off-line and remains so to this day. Now, Emerald Sky Dairy, under new ownership, is back to spreading the manure much like our grandfathers did - without the technologically advanced pre-treatment that Emerald Dairy had done in the past.
The Emerald Town Board denied a citizen-led resolution asking them to support a one-year moratorium and Environmental Impact Study prior to expanding Emerald Sky Dairy to over 6,000 cows. There are 90 families within a 2 mile radius of Emerald Sky Dairy concerned about this expansion because of the proposed 80 million gallons of sewage stored on-site, equal to a city of 1.4 million people according to EPA estimates.
Recent history in other parts of Wisconsin (Kewaunee County) reveal our State Government's inability to protect water quality when 1/3 of the tested private wells in the vicinity of these industrial dairies were contaminated with bacteria and nitrates. Our State Government gave itself an “F” for protecting our water quality in their Legislative Audit Bureau report last month. The DNR's Secretary agreed with the findings of the report.
These are significant facts – not to be ignored.
When some say, “I don't care what happened in Kewaunee County,” they miss the point how our State government failed to protect our water quality. When no one is “watching the store” businesses have opportunity and incentive to “cut corners” and others (we) pay the price. The cost of drilling a new well can exceed $20,000 for a homeowner, and is not covered by insurance.
This affects you because a compromised lagoon or over application of manure in fields can spread this contamination throughout the County quickly. Dry Run Creek runs behind Emerald Sky Dairy, into the Willow River through New Richmond, Willow River State Park, Lake Mallalieu, and into the St. Croix River.