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MADISON/STEVENS POINT - The Wisconsin Department of Justice has settled a lawsuit against a Portage County well driller and his company for violations of state well construction regulations, Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced today.


Wisconsin's well construction regulations establish minimum standards designed to protect groundwater and aquifers from contamination through inadequate construction and reconstruction of water systems. The well code requires licensed well drillers to comply with the construction standards, and state statutes set penalties for noncompliance.


According to the civil complaint filed at the request of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), William E. Soik's company, R.J. Soik Plumbing & Heating ("Soik"), failed to properly seal four residential wells; failed to adequately protect the drillholes in two wells prior to completion of their construction; failed to submit accurate well construction reports to DNR; contracted for the construction of a noncompliant well; constructed one well using defective pipe; and failed to properly disinfect another well.


Soik worked cooperatively with DNR to identify well construction issues by agreeing to excavate three wells. He has properly abandoned two noncompliant wells, and has properly re-installed conduit in the wells identified by the complaint. Under the settlement agreement reached by the parties, Soik will pay penalties and costs of $30,000 for the violations described in the complaint. He will excavate two wells and abandon them if necessary. He will also contact the owners of 42 bedrock wells he constructed since 2002 and offer to test those wells for bacteria in order to determine whether the sealing methods used have prevented surface or near-surface contaminants from entering the well or its aquifer.


"Well construction regulations help ensure that our aquifers are protected, and that consumers are provided with safe water," Van Hollen said. "The Department of Justice will work with the Department of Natural Resources to enforce these regulations."


Dane County Circuit Court Judge Sarah B. O'Brien approved the parties' settlement agreement. Assistant Attorney General Diane Milligan represented the State.