Emerald Sky Dairy's manure spill gives neighbors pause

 After more than 20 years of living on their grassy acreage tucked between farms, Chad and Mary Enerson were mortgage-free and the dream of replacing their century-old farmhouse was in sight. Their prospective house overlooked a pond pulsing with chirps and croaks, engulfed in a continuous buzz from the wildlife that gather at dusk. The couple even explored avenues to earn some retirement income from the pond — breeding shrimp or getting a permit to sell salamanders.

After more than 20 years of living on their grassy acreage tucked between farms, Chad and Mary Enerson were mortgage-free and the dream of replacing their century-old farmhouse was in sight. Their prospective house overlooked a pond pulsing with chirps and croaks, engulfed in a continuous buzz from the wildlife that gather at dusk. The couple even explored avenues to earn some retirement income from the pond — breeding shrimp or getting a permit to sell salamanders.

Their plans changed when a neighboring dairy applied to expand its concentrated animal feeding operation, or CAFO.

In May 2016, Emerald Sky Dairy owner Todd Tuls of Tuls Dairies applied to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to expand from 2,460 to 8,804 animal units.

Tuls, who took ownership in March 2016, came under fire earlier this year when the WDNR launched an investigation of a large-scale manure spill at the Emerald facility, which occurred in late 2016 and went unreported until March 29.