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MADISON - Under the terms of a stipulation and judgment settling a lawsuit filed by the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Kouba Well Drilling, Inc., of Vernon County, must pay $120,000 for violations of Wisconsin environmental enforcement laws. The judgment resolves charges that Kouba failed to comply with requirements for constructing high capacity wells and drillholes as part of geothermal heat systems at sites in Vernon, Iowa, Monroe, Crawford, and Sauk Counties, from 2003 through 2005.
Wisconsin law requires that well drillers apply for and obtain approval before beginning work on geothermal systems and high capacity wells, to submit accurate information on their work on geothermal systems and high capacity wells, and to properly grout drillholes so as to prevent contamination and leaks into the aquifer.
The failure to follow these requirements threatens public health and the groundwater, as well as public utility wells and natural resources such as springs, trout streams and outstanding or exceptional resource waters.
According to the DOJ complaint, Kouba Well Drilling, Inc., is a Vernon County corporation owned and operated by Daniel L. Kouba in Hillsboro, Wisconsin. According to the stipulation settling the lawsuit, Kouba is dismissed as a defendant in return for personally guaranteeing compliance with the judgment.
Under the terms of the settlement, Kouba Well Drilling, Inc., must pay $120,000 in penalties, costs and fees, as well as stipulated penalties of $2,000 for each drillhole that must be reconstructed or replaced within two years from November 2006, and must provide the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) daily notification of the location of all well drilling rigs for the next two years.
In announcing the judgment, Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen stressed the need for well drillers to comply with Wisconsin requirements that are designed to protect public health and state water resources.
The Department of Justice filed the lawsuit at the request of the Department of Natural Resources. Assistant Attorney General JoAnne F. Kloppenburg prosecuted the case. Dane County Circuit Court Judge Sarah B. O'Brien approved the settlement.