An administrative law judge says “massive regulatory failure” led to groundwater contamination in a dairy farming region and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources must use its powers to prevent further pollution.
Citing a rash of contaminated wells, the groups point to manure from animal agriculture as the leading risk to the region’s drinking water supplies and therefore the health of residents — and say state and local authorities have not done enough.
Two new studies of private well water in Kewaunee County have linked contamination to fertilizer, livestock manure and human waste. “In these shallow bedrock areas, what you put on the surface, you will end up drinking eventually,” county conservationist Andy Wallander said.
Life for Wisconsin families has been disrupted by the relatively rare practice in Wisconsin of using water irrigation systems to spray liquid manure on farm fields. Now the issue has taken on new urgency as more large dairy farms consider using the practice.
Six leading researchers at Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health are warning northeastern Wisconsin rural residents that over-application of manure at intensive livestock operations could cause them a host of health problems and damage the environment.