Redtail Ridge Dairy in Malone fined for discharge pollution that contaminated waterways, killed fish
FOND DU LAC - A Malone dairy farm has been ordered by pay $60,000 for violating the state’s wastewater discharge laws.
Redtail Ridge Dairy in northeast Fond du Lac County, owned by Joe and Diane Thome, must pay costs to remedy the adverse effects of polluted discharges to the tributaries of the Sheboygan River, including the cost of replacing fish or other wildlife destroyed by the discharge, according to the Wisconsin Attorney General's Office.
The case was settled before it went to trial in the courtroom of Fond du Lac Circuit Court Judge Peter Grimm, who issued the fines earlier this month. Grimm found the dairy guilty of three violations: manure ponding on application site, manure runoff from site and manure discharge to waters through subsurface drains.
The runoff occurred after manure was spread on fields by Redtail Ridge Dairy farm back in August 2018. Following heavy rains, the runoff reached into over 11 miles of creek between Taycheedah and Mount Calvary, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, causing fish to die.
The contaminated runoff reached the canoe launch at Fond du Lac County CCC and the Sheboygan River and the village of St. Cloud Park. On Aug. 23, the DNR counted 132 dead game fish in a tributary at Seven Hills Road.
Manure residue, deposits of dried manure up to three inches thick, and standing pools of dark, malodorous water were found in culverts along the runoff flowage routes, court records state.
After it was reported, nearly one million gallons of water and manure were collected from streams affected and placed in “manure storage facilities” by Redtail Ridge Dairy, according to a press release from the Fond du Lac County Land & Water Conservation Department Director Paul Tollard.
Owner Ty Thome told The Reporter that the Redtail Ridge team responded immediately to mitigate any further impacts.
"We worked closely with the DNR and community, including using our custom manure hauler and several vacuum trucks and other equipment," Thome said. "Our family and employees work hard day in and day out to carefully manage the nutrients needed for the crops that feed our cows. This is a commitment we’ve made for four generations."
The farm has permits to spread manure on about 165 acres of fields near the village of Mount Calvary.
"We continue to find new and innovative practices that protect and improve soil health and water quality," Thome said. "Our family takes seriously the trust that our community places in us, and we remain dedicated to maintaining that trust."
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