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MADISON - Charles & Luanda Wendt Farms, Inc. (Wendt Farms) will pay penalties and costs totaling $6,593.10 for its violations of state hazardous substance spill remediation laws. The violations occurred at a farm owned by the company located at N8615 County Highway X, in the Town of Watertown, Jefferson County. The settlement was approved in Jefferson County Circuit Court by Judge John M. Ullsvik, according to Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen and the Wisconsin Department of Justice.
According to the DOJ complaint, filed at the request of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Wendt Farms failed to investigate and remediate soil contamination found when an underground fuel storage tank was removed from its property in 1998.
Wisconsin law requires that a person who possesses or controls a hazardous substance that is discharged, or who causes the discharge of a hazardous substance, take the actions necessary to restore the environment to the extent practicable. It also requires that in doing so he or she must minimize the harmful effects from the discharge to the air, lands, or waters of this state. Gasoline contains benzene, a known human carcinogen.
"Taking the appropriate clean up measures when contamination is discovered is required by Wisconsin law for the benefit of all Wisconsin citizens," Van Hollen said. "The DNR is responsible for enforcing this law and, when appropriate, seeking the prosecution of violators with the representation of the Department of Justice."
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Wendt Farms must fully evaluate the site by September 1, 2007, and must commit to all necessary clean up activities by September 30, 2007.
Assistant Attorney General Diane Milligan represented the state.