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Lehmann Farms Fined for Violating State Water Pollution Laws
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 06/18/2014

Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced that his office has obtained a judgement and order against a Vernon County dairy operation for violating state water pollution control laws. According to the complaint filed by the Department of Justice at the request of the Department of Natural Resources, the owners of Lehmann Farms, LLC hooked a pump hose onto the lower valve of their manure storage unit in June 2013 and discharged approximately 20,000 to 30,000 gallons of manure into an intermittent stream.

Van Hollen says they chose to discharge the manure instead of securing additional lands or temporarily renting space in another farmer's storage facility. Court records show that the farm did not apply for a discharge permit and did not notify the DNR after the discharge took place. The state learned of the discharge when it received a citizen complaint and traced the manure back to Lehmann Farms.

Lehmann Farms operates a 280 cow dairy near Viroqua. Facilities that house more than 700 dairy cows are required to obtain and maintain a facility-specific pollution discharge permit. As a medium-sized facility, Lehmann Farms has not been covered by a discharge permit.

The judgement and order provides that Lehmann Farms will apply for a discharge permit by June 1, 2014, and this permit will require and help ensure that the farm secures and maintains adequate manure storage capacity into the future. It is anticipated that Lehmanns will construct a second manure storage facility at a cost of approximately $300,000, which should ensure that they will always have enough storage capacity. Lehmann Farms also will pay $15,000 in forfeitures, court costs and surcharges, and state investigation and enforcement costs, including attorneys’ fees, for the violations alleged in the complaint.

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