St. Croix County officials have voiced their concerns about the troubles at Emerald Sky Dairy.
Since March 2017, the county Resource Management Division revealed five manure related violations, the Community Development Department said in a letter to Department of Natural Resources officials last month. That includes the Nov. 2019 incident in which manure runoff flowed into Hutton Creek and killed fish.
“The Community Development Committee has received more public comment related to (Emerald Sky Dairy) than any other animal operation located in the county,” the letter states.
The other four violations were:
-- A spill that occurred in December 2016, but it wasn’t reported until March 2017. A large manure release into wetlands from leaking storage facility. An anonymous tip revealed the spill in March 2017.
-- In Feb. 2017, manure ran off into a road ditch.
-- In May 2018, a waste storage facility was constructed on ESD property for manure management, but the storage was used before lining or inspection by county and state authorities.
-- In May 2019, manure ran off into a road ditch near a home facility resulting from a hose connection break.
The letter also states citizen concerns have included contamination of domestic wells with E. coli which was the result of an ESD manure spill and subsequent respreading of spilled manure onto fields at high rates.
If the DNR chooses to reissue the permit to Emerald Sky Dairy, “The CDC requests full and quick enforcement of manure application rules and statues for CAFO’s located in St. Croix County.”
Furthermore, the letter states, “The CDC understands that animal manure is a valuable resource that can benefit soil health and provide nutrients for crop growth. However, we are concerned with the repeated runoff events into wetlands and public waters. The fines and measures taken for past violations are appreciated but they were not timely. The fines are levied years after the spills and ESD was put on a payment plan…The CDC requests more timely and effective enforcement of CAFO rules by DNR with regard to repeat offenders to deter future spills.”