To the editor:

In written comments submitted to DNR, concerned citizens ... urged the agency to give careful review of critical issues that further degrade quality of life and health before granting Wisconsin’s largest livestock operation a renewal of their permit to discharge pollutants (WPDES).

... Owned by Milk Source, LLC, Rosendale Dairy houses 9,400 cows and generates over 100 million gallons of waste per year.

This untreated toxic blend of feces, urine, antibiotics, and hormones is spread over approximately 30,000 acres.

At stake is a reduction from the current 200-foot spreading setback from private wells and direct conduits to groundwater to 100 feet.

Mark Resch, retired Ripon High School chemistry teacher observed, “At the public hearing, dairy officials boasted of operating under the strictest regulations of any CAFO in the state. Why then is Rosendale Dairy asking for a reduction in these regulations?”

“The setback distance of 200 feet was adopted when DNR issued the original permit 5 years ago,” Resch added. “The same private wells, high water tables, vast wetlands, and fractured bedrock that dictated that setback are still present throughout the spreading areas.”

Also being challenged by People Empowered Protect the Land (PEPL) of Rosendale is a permit that utterly dismisses the longstanding injustice of stagnating manure pits (lagoons) remaining uncovered.

These enormous cesspools that are used to store untreated liquid waste are continually releasing dangerously toxic air emissions....

Reviewing the permit for PEPL is an engineer with CAFO experience in 21 states who has identified some major flaws.

DNR has allowed the inclusion of a new lagoon into the permit being reviewed. This 13.2-million-gallon waste pit is a function of the newly proposed Biodigester System owned and operated by the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Foundation and, therefore, must be evaluated in a totally separate permit.

As a PEPL member living on a 50-acre wildlife sanctuary one mile from the factory farm, I spoke at the public hearing on this suspicious inclusion.

“In an earlier Air Pollution Permit for their proposed Biodigester System, the Foundation took great pains to disassociate itself from all aspects of the Rosendale Dairy operation,” I said. “Now we see the Foundation’s lagoon somehow slipped into the dairy’s WPDES permit. We, the people, would like full disclosure of all aspects of this industrial-sized operation. Until such time, we believe reissuance of Rosendale Dairy’s WPDES permit should be denied.” ...

— Elaine Swanson

People Empowered Protect the Land (PEPL) of Rosendale


To read the entire letter, see the Oct. 17, 2013 edition of The Ripon Commonwealth Press.

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