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State Settles Lawsuit for La Crosse County Manure Discharge and Fish Kill
 

MADISON - Under the terms of a stipulation and judgment settling a lawsuit filed by the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Dennis Weibel of Rockland, Monroe County, must pay $28,000 for violations of Wisconsin water pollution laws. The judgment resolves the state's lawsuit relating to a manure discharge in September 2007, resulting in a fish kill in Dutch Creek in La Crosse County.

 

According to the complaint, filed at the request of the Department of Natural Resources, Weibel owned and operated a 600-heifer farm in Monroe County. Wisconsin law prohibits the discharge of manure from a farm of that size into state navigable waters. The complaint charges that manure that had been stored in a ravine flowed down into Dutch Creek in La Crosse County in September 2007, and killed at least 225 trout in the creek. The manure discharge resulted in many more dead fish over 9 miles downstream from the discharge point.

 

After the discharge, Weibel cooperated with the Department of Natural Resources to remove the manure that remained in the ravine.

 

Under the terms of the settlement, Weibel must pay $28,000 in penalties and costs, including $5,906.25 for the dead fish and $18,000 to restore the creek. In addition, Weibel must publish an article in Agri-News and Country Today about good manure management practices for expanding farms, the factors that resulted in the fish kill in this case, and what farmers can do to avoid a similar result.

 

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.

 

Assistant Attorney General JoAnne F. Kloppenburg prosecuted the case. La Crosse County Circuit Court Judge Scott L. Horne approved the settlement.