KEWAUNEE — Six
environmental groups want federal regulators to investigate
groundwater contamination in Kewaunee County.
The groups have
petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to exercise
emergency powers under the Safe Drinking Water Act to investigate
their concerns. The petitioners say the state Department of
Natural Resources has failed to protect the drinking water for
residents of Kewaunee County, which is home to about 200 dairy
farms, including 15 large-scale operations.
The groups said
manure from dairy cows, calves, heifers and beef cattle produces
12.4 million pounds of nitrogen annually, citing DNR figures.
The county tested
483 wells last year and found nearly 31 percent contained bacteria
or nitrates that exceeded state and federal health standards.
deserves safe, clean and reliable drinking water, but Kewaunee
County residents gamble with their health simply by turning on the
faucets in their homes," Elizabeth Wheeler, staff attorney
with Clean Wisconsin, said in a statement. "We're seeking
federal action to help create a long-term solution to what's
unfortunately been a long-term problem for thousands of people in
the area."An EPA spokeswoman tells the Journal Sentinel (http://bit.ly/1wuFhF3
) the agency is reviewing the groups' petition.
Bill Cosh said the "DNR operates its permit programs to meet
all requirements of current laws and rules."
Wisconsin, the organizations include Midwest Environmental
Advocates, the Clean Water Action Council of Northeastern
Wisconsin, Environmental Integrity Project, Midwest Environmental
Defense Center and Kewaunee CARES.