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MADISON - The Wisconsin Department of Justice has settled a lawsuit against Milk Specialties Company for violations of state water pollution control laws at its Sheboygan County whey processing plant in July of 2007.
According to the complaint, filed at the request of the Department of Natural Resources, Milk Specialties violated the limits and restrictions in its wastewater discharge permit when a plant upset resulted in pollutant discharges to the Adell Branch of the North Branch of the Milwaukee River over a six-day period. The complaint charges that the company had turned off the alarm system which would have notified it of the upset, and that its response to the upset was untimely and inadequate, exacerbating the adverse impacts of the spill.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Milk Specialties has agreed to pay penalties and assessments totaling $75,000 for the violations. It has also agreed, as a supplemental environmental project, to make a $50,000 contribution to the Glacial Lakes Conservancy to be used for water quality improvement projects in the Milwaukee River-North Branch watershed, such as stream bank buffers, conservation easements, or wetland restoration. The settlement agreement also requires that Milk Specialties submit a wastewater treatment capacity assessment to DNR and accept DNR's proposed modifications to the company's WPDES permit.
"The state's permitting process is designed to protect Wisconsin's environment while enabling individuals to conduct lawful enterprises," said Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen. "We will continue to work with the DNR to make sure that Wisconsin's environmental laws are followed."
Assistant Attorney General Shari Eggleson prosecuted the case. The settlement was approved by Sheboygan County Circuit Court Judge Gary Langhoff.