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MADISON - Under the terms of a stipulation and judgment settling a lawsuit filed by the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Sunnyside Dairy Farms LLC of Valders, Manitowoc County, must pay $36,861 for violations of Wisconsin water pollution laws. The judgment resolves the state's lawsuit relating to a manure discharge in November and December 2004, resulting in a fish kill in the South Branch of Point Creek.
Wisconsin law prohibits the discharge of any deleterious substance in state waters, and requires that any person responsible for such a discharge respond promptly and minimize and restore the environmental damage. According to the Department of Justice's complaint, in November 2004, Sunnyside spread 1.87 million gallons of manure on a 77-acre field. The manure then flowed through a drain tile into the South Branch of Point Creek. The manure discharge resulted in dead fish as far as 3 miles downstream from the discharge point and did harm to the habitat and ecological health of 7.8 miles of the South Branch of Point Creek and its tributaries. It was the second manure discharge and fish kill experienced by Sunnyside since 2001.
Since December 2004, Sunnyside has worked with Manitowoc County to develop and implement a nutrient management plan and a manure spreading plan, and has modified its tilling practices to protect against manure discharges in the future.
Under the terms of the settlement, Sunnyside Dairy Farms must pay $36,861 in penalties and costs, including $10,000 to restore the fishery in the creek.
In announcing the judgment, Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen stressed how important it is that citizens take the steps necessary to ensure compliance with Wisconsin laws and regulations that are designed to protect the state's water and fish 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. Manitowoc County Circuit Court Judge Patrick Willis approved the settlement.