The Richfield Dairy (CAFO – Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation) near Coloma, WI was recently approved by the Wisconsin DNR and will initially house nearly 5000 cows under one roof potentially placing drinking water, trout streams and nearby Pleasant Lake in jeopardy and at the same time will degrade air quality. But this approval does not limit the number of animals allowed! Another CAFO in the state owned by the same corporation already has nearly 10,000 animals. The high-capacity well permit approval caps the dairy’s annual water withdrawals at 131 million gallons, yet evidence was submitted to the DNR that even a lower amount of annual withdrawal—52 million gallons—would lower lake levels by an average of 2 inches per year and would reduce stream flows by 5%. The DNR stated that it did not view these reductions as a “significant adverse environmental impact.” While recognizing and agreeing with the impact based on 52 million gallons, the DNR actually approved an amount 2.5 times that amount that will potentially on average reduce lake levels by nearly 6 inches and stream flows by 20% or more! Enough is enough! This decision ignores the science and puts business ahead of all else. Help us stop this decision and support the legal fight on behalf of the citizens. Show your support … and please donate now at www.stoptherichfieldcafo.org Tell your friends on FaceBook and Twitter!
I am writing to express my concern about the proposed Richfield Diary near Coloma, WI. The Richfield Dairy will initially house nearly 5000 cows placing drinking water in jeopardy. It is located just a few miles north of the New Chester Dairy and owned by the same corporation. New Chester is now slated to be over 10,000 cows making it the largest in the state and no one is denying that the Richfield Dairy will be at least that larger if not larger. It will also degrade air quality and potentially have an adverse effect on an already too low water table as it pumps an average of up to 131 million gallons a year with an almost certainty of expansion. Waste from these cows will be spread over thousands of acres and will imperil four Class 1 trout streams and nearby lakes. You agree with the negative impacts but do not view these as having a "significant adverse environmental impact". Draw downs of potentially 6" on average and stream reductions of possibly as high as 20% isn't signficant? While professing economic growth, history regarding these CAFO’s (concentrated animal feeding operation) would tell another story.
Regulations to mitigate risk do not guarantee that harmful events will not occur. The WPDES permit acknowledges many of these concerns but through regulation attempts to mitigate them or simply doesn't consider them serious enough to warrant consideration. I am certain that nearby property owners would feel otherwise. The Nutrient Management Plan leaves too many opportunities for possible ground and surface water contamination and private wells are already known to be at risk. Without additional study there are many unknown questions regaring the spreading of manure on these fields and the resulting impact on water quality.
I ask that you reconsider the WPDES permit and approval for the high capacity wells required for this dairy. There are too many risks that affect the quality of ground and surface water to grant approval.