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MADISON — Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced today that the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) has settled a lawsuit against a Minnesota well drilling company and one of its employees for violations of state well drilling licensing requirements. On April 18, 2012, DaneCounty Circuit Court Judge C. William Foust approved a settlement agreement providing that Kimmes-Bauer Well Drilling, Inc., of Hastings, Minnesota, will pay $18,000 in forfeitures and mandatory court costs and surcharges, and $2,000 to the DOJ for its fees. Aaron Bauer will pay $4,000 in forfeitures and mandatory court costs and surcharges.
Wisconsin regulations provide that one of the conditions that must be met for an out-of-state well drilling company to hold a valid Wisconsin well drilling license is that the company must have a supervisory well driller who holds a valid Wisconsin individual well driller license. They also require that a well driller submit an accurate and complete well construction report for each well.
According to the civil complaint filed against the defendants at the request of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), from 2006 to 2008 defendant Kimmes-Bauer drilled at least 25potable wells in Wisconsin without holding a valid Wisconsin license because the company did not have a supervisory well driller during that time. The complaint also alleged that Kimmes-Bauer then submitted construction reports for those 25 wells that falsely named a former employee as the supervisory well driller.
Furthermore, the complaint alleged that, from 2007 to 2009, defendant Aaron Bauer drilled at least six potable wells in Wisconsin without holding a valid Wisconsin license. Although AaronBauer had submitted an application for a license, the application was not valid because it falsely stated that he had fulfilled the experience portion of the application by drilling 15 wells under the supervision of Kimmes-Bauer's former supervisory well driller, a person who was no longer employed by the company during the time of the claimed experience.
The defendants have cooperated with the DNR and the DOJ to obtain valid licenses and to resolve the lawsuit. Additionally, the defendants have agreed to provide 24-hour notice to the DNR before drilling any drinking water well in Wisconsin. According to the DNR, although the wells were drilled in violation of Wisconsin's licensing requirements, the wells did comply with Wisconsin's well construction requirements.
Assistant Attorney General Lorraine Stoltzfus represented the State.
Copies of the Stipulation and Order, and the Judgments are available at the following links: