Monday, April 25, 2016

DNR wants more well monitoring at Central Sands CAFO, but...

[Updated from 1:15 p.m. Monday] Groundwater in the Wisconsin's central sands region is both over-pumped and contaminated at high levels by animal waste runoff, but officials have been unable or unwilling to stop it.
Several large animal-feeding operations known as CAFO's (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) are under review by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, including a 26,000-pig feeding CAFO - - the largest of its kind in Wisconsin - - which Iowa owners want to locate in NW WI near the City of Ashland and within smelling distance of Lake Superior.

Draft permit documents newly-posted by the DNR show that the the Central Sands CAFO operation in Juneau County - - one of the state's most controversial - - will be required through changes in its DNR-issued operating permit to install additional monitoring wells and other improvements on-site.

The proposed permit modifications will not require that groundwater meet designated quality standards - - as sought often by concerned citizens - - which continues a trend and recent state actions which also required a huge Kewaunee County dairy cattle CAFO to add more groundwater monitoring - - but which also allowed the operator to substantially expand the CAFO's capacity even though a state administrative law judge had put a cap on it.

A public comment period about the Central Sands CAFO permit modifications, and a two-hour hearing on the matter will be held in the Necedah village hall on May 9th, from 1:30-3:30 p.m.

Here's a 2015 newspaper story with some of the Juneau County/Central Sands CAFO's history and information about another big CAFO - - Golden Sands - - which has been proposed in Wood County by the same owner as Central Sands, and is still under a DNR review: filed in August with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources that shows monitoring wells at Central Sands Dairy, in the town of Armenia in Juneau County, recently contained nitrate levels substantially higher than state drinking water standards. 
...groundwater tests of four wells at Central Sands Dairy found nitrogen levels ranging widely — some far below state standards, but other tests that indicated nitrogen levels well above what the state considers safe. 
Tests in one well showed nitrogen levels at 77 parts per million in July, an increase from 60 parts per million in December. The state considers nitrate levels above 10 parts per million unsafe, particularly for infants...Testing also showed the presence of E. Coli in two wells, and levels of ammonium exceeding a lower standard of concern.
More about those CAFOs and their common ownership, here:

Below are the links to the new DNR documents about the Central Sands CAFO, and some excerpts:

Central Sands Dairy LLC is a currently Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (WPDES)-permitted dairy Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation. Its current WPDES permit became effective on January 1, 2012 and will expire on December 31, 2016. At issuance, the operation housed approximately 3800 dairy cows and 400 calves, or 5300 Animal Units. In response to concerns about potential groundwater impacts associated with the operation’s production area, the Department is proposing to modify the current permit to include requirements for Central Sands Dairy LLC to install a production area groundwater monitoring system... 
Reasons: The Department is modifying the WPDES Permit for Central Sands Dairy to require additional groundwater monitoring for the reasons listed here. Additional information is in the attached report from the Drinking Water and Groundwater Program dated March 31, 2016. 
A. The above listed submittals from Central Sands Dairy included new information that a septic system drain field exists immediately upgradient from the groundwater monitoring well nest CSD-1. 
B. The Department has reviewed the production area groundwater monitoring results submitted to date, and finds that additional groundwater monitoring locations are needed to identify the source or sources of groundwater contamination. The monitoring results to date do not support, Central Sands Dairy's position that the causes are from off-site, and possibly from on-site limited facilities that the WPDES Permit does not regulate (a septic system drain field) or that are no longer in use (a feed runoff treatment infiltration strip). 
C. Central Sands Dairy performed what it refers to as a "comprehensive integrity analysis" ofthe manure storage lagoon, which included emptying, cleaning, and inspection, and repair ofthe cracks identified. The Department believes most ofthe cracks were narrow enough that significant liquid leakage seems unlikely. Unfortunately, soil samples taken from below the cracks did not receive chemical testing to help determine if leakage had occurred. Also, Central Sands Dairy has still not acknowledged the groundwater found within 2 feet below the floor elevation at the time of repair, and the analysis also did not address this finding. This groundwater found was mentioned only in a field note, with no photos or resulting soil test results provided, and no other information or mention ofthis groundwater elevation was made in the analysis report (prepared by AECOM). 
D. The Department and Central Sands Dairy have determined the digester floor elevation appears to not have the required minimum 2 feet from saturation, based on the groundwater level monitoring results from groundwater monitoring wells, and the digester design plans (no as-built record is available). 
E. The Department does not agree that the manure lagoon and digester were in compliance with the minimum required separation to saturation specified by the NRCS 313 Standard in effect at the time of construction. (September 28, 2015, Non-Compliant Evaluation letter from the Department).

Also - - the number of CAFOs statewide has gone from 50 to more than 200 since 2000, according to DNR data:

CAFO Graph


Anonymous said...

What are these Walker-backers complaining about? Once you get used to the smell, manure-run off in your drinking water is no big deal. Try it, you'll like it!

Besides, Walker will count those 26,000 pigs as NEW JOBS added under his economic program. We can save water by drinking more of the water and silage that has run through the animals of CAFOs. Every gallon of urine/feces is one less gallon we need to extract from our increasingly polluted and now diminishing aquifers.

Elections have consequences. Enjoy your total republican control!

Anonymous said...

I love the smell of poo in the morning.

Anonymous said...

So if all these alarmist posts about water are true, how come the state's largest newspaper (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) never covers any of this?

Are you sure you have your facts right? The professional journalists in Wisconsin, evidently, do not think so.