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Cambridge

Village repays distillery for unusable well water

Nick Maas, of Dancing Goat Distillery, said the company dumped more than 75,000 gallons of village water in 2020 and so far in 2021 has dumped another 47,000 gallons

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Dancing Goat distillery will recoup nearly $2,000 from the village of Cambridge, for having to dump poor-quality well water.

The Cambridge Village Board voted unanimously on Feb. 23 to give a $1,956 sewer credit to the distillery.

The issue was directly taken up by the Village Board without a recommendation from its Water and Sewer Committee.

At a recent committee meeting, it wasn’t acted on due to lack of a second. Village Board member Ted Kumbier, who chairs the committee, said he brought it to the full board without a recommendation, an atypical process.

Kumbier said Cambridge “is responsible for providing Dancing Goat with usable water. If they can’t use it, they are going to dump it,” and should be credited.

Nick Maas, of Dancing Goat Distillery, said the company dumped more than 75,000 gallons of village water in 2020 and so far in 2021 has dumped another 47,000 gallons.

The disposed-of water had a green hue that made it not legally usable in its processes, though the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources says it’s drinkable, Maas said.

“It clearly is not normal water, and that affects our fermentation,” Maas said. “There is a problem with the water.”

“We’ve had our plumbing examined; it’s not our plumbing,” Maas added.

Maintenance is underway on the village well the supplies the distillery, Village Administrator Lisa Moen said. Its iron filter has recently been cleaned and its softener will soon be cleaned with plans to ultimately replace it, Moen said.

At its recent meeting, the Water and Sewer Committee voted unanimously to spend up to $3,500 to clean the water softener. The committee also recently received a bid to replace it, at a cost of $96,000, not including disposing of the old softener. The committee has not yet acted on that proposed replacement.

Moen said the village has been aware of the distillery’s concerns.

“We have been meeting for months and have been working hard trying to find a solution,” Moen said. “We realize they haven’t been able to use the water and they have been letting us know when they need to dump it. This has been a partnership, trying to come up with a solution to take care of it once and for all.”

The hope “is that once all this maintenance is done, we have the answers we are looking for and can move forward,” Moen said.

Maas said Dancing Goat has been working well with the village office.

“Lisa has done everything she can do to help us,” Maas said. “The communication is there. I just need to know what I need to do. Green water is not usable.”

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