DNR approves Pagel wastewater permit
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said Monday that it has approved the permit requested by Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy that includes the possibility of spraying manure on identified fields using two center-pivot systems.
In approving the manure irrigation plan request, Brad Holz, DNR agricultural runoff management specialist, released a statement that said “If and when a manure irrigation plan is submitted to the department, we are required by our administrative code to review that request to determine whether or not it meets code requirements.”
The approved permit calls for Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy to visually monitor fields receiving manure irrigation applications hourly or more frequently and to document these monitoring results in a record sheet that will be submitted to the department annually with the Nutrient Management Plan update.
County residents expressed their concern at a recent DNR hearing on the permit request, saying that few studies had been completed to determine the effects on aerial spraying of manure on the health of humans, animals and the environment.
But Pagel said that the manure to be sprayed will be processed through a digester and other technology that removes the dangerous pathogens.
Some scientists testified at a recent manure spraying presentation that digesters can only remove 90 percent of pathogens.
Farmers said center-pivot systems will help them spread manure more safely and economically than with trucks and may reduce manure runoff into ground and surface waters.
The DNR said, however, that surface water monitoring is outside the permit reissue process. Visual monitoring, inspections and sampling prior to and during hauling events are the only requirements of the permit.
Residents at the hearing had also expressed concern that the DNR was not waiting for the final report of a state work group studying the safety of manure irrigation before approving the permit.
But Holtz said, in an answer to citizens’ questions at the hearing, that the DNR had never stated it would cease reviewing manure irrigation permit requests made by concentrated animal feeding operations, such as Pagel’s. Pagel’s permit to continue to operate a CAFO of 9,563 animal units was also approved.
Manure spraying by traveling gun and central pivot has been banned by a town ordinance in the town of West Kewaunee where some of Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy’s agricultural fields are located. Town Chairman Tom Kruse said he would be checking with the town’s attorney to determine if any of the proposed fields to be sprayed were in the town and how to proceed.
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press Gazette: DNR approves Pagel wastewater permit