Dear Editor,

Are protecting surface water, groundwater, and drinking water important to you? Does your family value the rivers, lakes, and wildlife in our area? 

It’s time to weigh in on the draft WPDES wastewater permit (WI-0056308-06-0) for the expanded Daybreak Foods Creekwood Cage Free facility on Crossman Road and County A.

A (virtual) DNR public hearing takes place Monday, Sept. 21 at 1 p.m. To participate, fill out the registration form: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJIudOuqpjkrGtKQ2fDciQLxwnawxOwmZ6Gx)

Located in the Rock River Basin, the Creekwood operation is within two miles of Rock Lake, Mud Lake (classified by DNR as impaired), Perch Lake, Bean Lake, and the Lake Mills Wildlife Area. Two wetlands, totaling 14.6 acres, lie 40 feet to 250 feet of three new pullet (chicken) houses and the waste storage facility. 

Roughly 22,000 gallons of wastewater daily from this facility are received into tributaries of the Lower Koshkonong Creek and Crawfish River watersheds and groundwater of the state. Crawfish River is listed as 303(d) impaired water by ‘Total Phosphorus.’ 

Daybreak Foods Creekwood Cage Free has 11 wells, 8 of which are high capacity wells. Water usage in 2019 was 27,031,599 gallons.

At 2,699,000 birds, the daily ammonia production is 1,630 pounds. The hydrogen sulfide production is 11.4 pounds per day. (Ammonia 274 mg/day/bird. Hydrogen sulfide 1.92 mg/day/bird.) 

The DNR wastewater department last conducted a compliance inspection on Oct. 6, 2016, per Mark Cain—when the farm had more than 1,000,000 fewer chickens.

Much of the regulation of this industrial operation relies on self-monitoring and self-reporting. The Corporation also operates other egg laying facilities, having been fined by Iowa DNR (twice) and the EPA in Ohio. These violations raise questions about possible practices at the Creekwood facility.

For more information, see https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/Wastewater/PublicNotices.html

The Permit Fact Sheet contains key information, including air emission and air pollution facts.

Wondering where the waste will be land-applied? View the 2020 updated Nutrient Management Plan, https://permits.dnr.wi.gov/water/SitePages/DocSetView.aspx?DocSet=AG-NMP-SC-2020-28-X04-21T11-34-07&Loc=undefined

Written comments may also be submitted to Mark.Cain@wisconsin.gov until 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 28. Questions about the hearing or the permit? Call (608) 516-5434. 

Thank you for your interest, and for making time to public comment on the proposed five-year water pollution permit.

Please note: I’m writing as a private citizen, not on behalf of any organization or governmental body.

Anita J. Martin

Lake Mills

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