The farm implicated in the most manure runoff incidents last fall in Kewaunee County has responded to the county’s lawsuit seeking more than $16,000 in fines.
“Defendant lacks sufficient knowledge or information to form a belief as to the veracity of the allegations contained therein and therefore denies the same,” Johannes W. Wakker’s attorney wrote in response to each of five paragraphs describing times and places where a county conservation specialist is said to have observed manure running into the waters of the state during an inspection of properties where Wakker contracted to have liquid manure spread.
The county is seeking $16,510 in fines from the Kewaunee dairy farmer in connection with five separate run-off incidents or spills in the towns of Carlton and West Kewaunee on Nov. 20, Dec. 7, and Dec. 9.
They were among more than a dozen incidents that occurred as farms worked to meet the requirement that they hold at least 180 days of manure storage capacity during the winter, as well as a county ordinance that prohibits manure spreading over shallow soils during the first three and half months of the year – all during one of the rainiest autumns in recent memory.
Most of the civil lawsuits filed since the county passed its ordinance have asked offenders to pay $1,397.50 in fines and court costs, but Wakker is a repeat offender and is the only farmer involved in more than three incidents this time, so officials are seeking $3,302 per incident.
The state Department of Natural Resources opened at least four files on Wakker since November, among 15 manure-related incidents the DNR investigated in Kewaunee County since Oct. 11.
Photo of drain tiles discharge from DNR file on Dec. 9 Wakker Dairy Farms manure runoff incident.