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MADISON — Circuit Judge Mark Lee Goodman has ordered Ray Miller, d/b/a M & M Ranch & Outfitters, to pay $146,790 in forfeitures, plus costs and penalties and $3,500 in attorney fees for violations of state laws regulating maintenance of drinking water wells and assuring clean water. Miller also was ordered to correct the violations and bring the wells into compliance by December 7, 2011.
According to the complaint, filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) at the request of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Miller failed to correct significant deficiencies on his property's four wells and one valve pit for 1,631 days each.
Failure to maintain and repair drinking water wells can result in a serious risk of contamination entering the wells and/or the contamination of ground water causing human and animal illness, or even death, to at-risk individuals.
Despite receiving multiple notices of violations from the DNR, Miller repeatedly refused to bring the wells into compliance. Despite Miller being advised by the DNR that there may be funding available to him to help with the associated costs of the needed repairs, he refused to remedy the violations.
After involvement by the DOJ and court intervention, Miller repeatedly promised to bring the wells into compliance but refused to do so. Miller delayed this matter needlessly for two more years than the two years the case was at the DNR, endangering the water supply and using up scarce state and judicial resources.
A written order is being prepared by Assistant Attorney General Mary Batt, who prosecuted the case.
Copies of the order for summary judgment and the complaint are available at the following links: