Nitrates in drinking water affect human health

People who use wells as a source of drinking water need to monitor the level of nitrates in their well water.  If you drink water that is high in nitrates, it can interfere with the ability of your red blood cells to transport oxygen.  Infants who drink water high in nitrates may turn “bluish” and appear to have difficulty in breathing since their bodies are not receiving enough oxygen.

Visit: Citizen's Water Coalition of Wisconsin


Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation

Although CAFOs are regulated by state and federal laws, these operations still have the potential to contaminate surface and groundwater. CAFOs produce a much greater volume of animal waste than smaller scale family farms. CAFOs are not able to efficiently use this waste for fertilizer as there is simply too great volume of waste. They frequently store the manure in lagoons or piles, which lead to overflows of waste.

Industrial food often carries many food-borne illnesses due to the tight confinement of animals. The animal waste carries bacteria including E. coli and Salmonella. CAFO workers and their communities are susceptible to respiratory diseases and outbreaks of illnesses. Animals are often fed contaminated grains and have an unhealthy diet, which impacts the nutritional value of the meat and dairy products.

Manure from CAFOs carries viruses, bacteria, oxygen-depleting nutrients, and other toxins. Spraying manure on fields spreads these pathogens and toxins, which can contaminate land and water sources. Manure is like many other substances—natural when used in the appropriate amount and setting, but dangerous when over-used or improperly applied to the natural landscape. Recent Wisconsin insurance case law confirmed that at least in some instances manure transforms from a nutrient to a pollutant when it misapplied and causes private well contamination. When manure is over applied, it cannot be absorbed by the land and can runoff into nearby surface and ground water sources.


DNR can't protect us, call our State officials.

CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation). Attorney General Brad Schimel's May 10, 2016 opinion stated the DNR can no longer consider the cumulative effects of high-capacity wells on lakes, streams and groundwater when deciding whether to approve new high-capacity wells. 
Read More >

This means our wells could go dry and need re-drilling at great expense (~$20,000) since high-capacity wells suck water out at great speeds and may pull the water table below the reach of our wells.

State Legislative Audit Bureau's June 3, 2016 report on DNR Wastewater Permitting & Enforcement highlights. Full Report Here >

A random sample of 320 wells in Kewaunee County (east of Green Bay/south of Door County) found that 110 (34.4 percent) were contaminated with bacteria or unsafe levels of nitrates.  

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentienel..... More Info > ....“The Legislative Audit Bureau report found the DNR failed to send violation notices in 94% of the nearly 560 instances its policies said it should have over the past decade. The report found that permits have been extended without review for years due to a backlog and that staff members don't have time to thoroughly monitor concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs.”  

Turnover has been an issue, especially for DNR staff responsible for CAFO permitting and oversight. Only 36 of approximately 1,900 reports required to be submitted by CAFO permittees had been electronically recorded as being received. 

KARST bedrock (“swiss cheese” with lots of fissures, caverns, caves, sinkholes) – under our topsoil..... View Report > 
“The rocks are dissolved mostly along fractures and create caves and other conduits that act as underground streams. Water moves readily through these openings, carrying sediment (and pollutants) directly into our groundwater.....Karst landscapes may have deep bedrock fractures, caves, disappearing streams, springs, or sinkholes....Protect your groundwater and wells by being careful about what you spread in these areas.”  St. Croix County has much of the same type of “karst” bedrock as Kewanee County.


Emerald Residents On The Edge

St. Croix County's Community Development Department and County Board Committee reviewed the many phone calls and questions they had been receiving regarding the expansion of Emerald Dairy.  You can find this info on-line at the County's website here > and start on packet page 83. 

We Are Not Alone

Other Wisconsin counties have faced new or expanding industrial contained animal feeding operations - CAFOs for short.  According to EPA estimates ( Read More > on page 9), a dairy industrial operation with more than 6,000 cows will produce as much sewage as a city of 1.4 million people!!  That's larger than the population of Minneapolis, St. Paul and Milwaukee COMBINED!!!  Read more about other Wisconsinites experiences below........



"The Community Development Department has received an application to amend the existing 2001 Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for livestock facilities of 500 animal units or more for Emerald Sky Dairy (formerly Emerald Dairy) in the Town of Emerald. The site’s existing CUP allows up to 3,400 dairy cows, which is equal to 4,760 animal units, the applicants are requesting an increase to 8,804 animal units and related structures and facilities. The existing operation currently has 2,460 animal units. Conditional Use Permits are tied to the property or operation and therefore run with the land. Change in ownership does not impact the Conditional Use Permit...."

"Does the Emerald Town Board approve or deny any permit? The Emerald Town Board will make a recommendation to the BOA on the amendment to the existing conditional use permit issued by the County. The town does not issue or approve the conditional use permit. The Emerald Town Board has authority to issue the building permit." Read More >

Visit our Facebook page at "St Croix County Defending Our Water" for the latest info!



"Kewaunee County’s 16 CAFOs contribute the bulk of the more than 555 million gallons of liquid manure that are spread on the county’s fields each year, county figures show.

The likelihood that manure from such large farms will contain one or more pathogens is “very high,” according to the EPA, because of the sheer number of animals housed in such operations.

Manure is a veritable stew of more than 150 pathogens that can make people sick, according to a report from the National Association of Local Boards of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

These pathogens include E. coli, Salmonella, Giardia and Cryptosporidium. All can cause severe diarrhea and can be deadly for those with weakened immune systems. Infants and young children, pregnant women, the elderly, people who are HIV-positive and those who have undergone chemotherapy — about 20 percent of the U.S. population — are most at risk." Read More >


"Ted Eastlund, with Friends of the Eau Claire Lakes Association, said he supports
the move.

"Even though the state of Wisconsin has limited a county’s control of siting of CAFOs, counties can implement strict operational requirements to protect public health and nuisances,” he told the county board." Read More >



From the Monroe Times, 1/25/16, Read here>

"Todd Tuls wanted to build the concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) in Sylvester Township. His son T.J. operates Rock Prairie Farm east of Janesville, and Tuls said the Green County operation would be a "mirror image" of that facility. Tuls himself owns two similar dairy facilities in Nebraska. Pinnacle Dairy applied to have more than 5,100 cows spread out over 127 acres along County FF and Decatur-Sylvester Road. Construction was due to begin this year.

The DNR on Friday rejected Tuls' plan that specified the location of four waste storage facilities. Because of the lack of proof that the structures would not leach into the groundwater below, the DNRrejected the entire plan. Without the waste storage facilities, the dairywould not have sufficient storage, the DNR said in its report.

Instead, the DNR approved a request from Pinnacle representatives to put ground monitoring wells in place to demonstrate a sufficient separation between the holding tanks and the lower level groundwater. Read More >

"Tuls and his son T.J. did not return calls Tuesday seeking comment on the decision."


Green Bay and the lower Fox River are suffering from a chronic overdose of phosphorus. There are lots of sources for the nutrient — city sewerage systems, industries, runoff from lawns and streets — but as this chart shows, agriculture is by far the largest contributor. Read More >

These numbers reflect phosphorus flowing into the lower Fox River watershed, defined as the 39-mile stretch of river between Lake Winnebago and Green Bay. They do not show the more than 700,000 pounds flowing into the river from Lake Winnebago annually. SOURCE: WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES