- Victim Assistance
- Consumer Protection
- Media Center
- Topical Index
MADISON - The Wisconsin Department of Justice has settled a lawsuit against United Meadows Dairy, LLC and its owner/operator Jeff Meulemans, for violations of state water pollution control laws at United Meadows' dairy operation in Brown County.
According to the complaint, filed at the request of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), United Meadows Dairy milks approximately 525 cows and collects the manure and sand bedding from its operations in a clay-lined open-topped manure storage pit. Twice during 2005, this manure pit became too full and overtopped. In 2007, the manure pit overtopped again, and 20,000 to 30,000 gallons of liquid manure flowed through Apple Creek and into the Fox River. The complaint states that by discharging pollution to waters of the state without a permit, United Meadows violated Wisconsin's Clean Water Act. Manure spills that are not reported also violate Wisconsin's Spills Law, which requires prompt reporting and remediation.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, United Meadows has agreed to pay penalties, costs and assessments totaling $46,000 for the violations. The settlement agreement requires that United Meadows upgrade its manure pit, manure loading platform, and feed storage area leachate collection system during 2009. The agreement requires United Meadows to mark the maximum operating level (MOL) for its manure storage pit, and to pay additional forfeitures if the manure storage: (1) exceeds the MOL level before November 2009; (2) lacks adequate capacity next winter; or (3) discharges to waters of the state during the next three years. DNR is also in the process of issuing a Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination permit to United Meadows, now defined as a concentrated animal feeding operation, which will further regulate the dairy's manure management.
"It is against the law for farms to discharge manure into Wisconsin's waters," Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said. "The permitting process is intended to regulate farms to prevent discharges from their production area as well as closely monitors the land application of manure in order to protect the waters of the state. The Department of Justice will continue to work with the DNR to ensure compliance with the law and to help prevent future violations."
Assistant Attorney General Diane L. Milligan prosecuted the case. The settlement was approved by Brown County Circuit Court Judge Mark A. Warpinski.