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DNR Investigating Manure Spill In Northeastern Wisconsin

Agency Unsure Of Contamination's Scope In Lake Michigan Tributary

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State environmental officials are investigating a manure spill in northeastern Wisconsin into a Lake Michigan tributary.

The spill was reported Monday evening and investigators with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources are still looking into the incident, which has since been contained. But the agency doesn’t know how much manure was released.

The farm where the spill is believed to have originated is Hochkammer Dairy, located roughly 6 miles south of the city of Manitowoc. The spill went into Pine Creek, which runs directly into nearby Lake Michigan.

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Roxanne Chronert is a supervisor for the DNR’s Northeastern Region Remediation and Redevelopment program, which involves spill clean ups. She said the agency begins such investigations by determining the source of the spill then finding where the clean water is above it.

“Then we start trying to track down where could the potential sources be,” Chronert said. “As an incident occurs, our first priority is stopping that release and getting it cleaned up.”

From there, Chronert said, the DNR tries to see if there is a direct discharge, “then we go to who we believe is the potentially responsible party, approach them and let them know we think they have a release coming from their facility.”

In a written statement, Hochkammer Dairy said it is working with the Manitowoc County Soil and Water Conservation Department to address the situation. They suspect a “tile failure” and said they will work to find out what happened to make sure a similar discharge will “never happen again.”

The DNR’s Chronert said there’s no timeline as to when a report will be issued on the release.

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