DNR Unlikely To Expand Study Of Hi-Cap Wells, Little Plover River


The Department of Natural Resources will not likely expand a study of high-capacity wells and the Little Plover River.

The Town of Saratoga’s town board had requested the expansion, as it seeks to block plans for a mega-dairy farm.

Golden Sands Dairy is seeking permits for 49 high-capacity wells for a 5,300-animal farm in the Saratoga. Last week, the town board asked the DNR to include it in a study of high-capacity wells and the troubled Little Plover River. Saratoga resident and dairy opponent Rhonda Carrell believes Tenmile Creek, which runs near her home, would also be endangered if the Golden Sands project is approved.

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“The Little Plover River [is] almost identical to the Tenmile Creek,” she says. “And the Little Plover River has experienced actual dry-up. I was absolutely encouraged by the fact that our board unanimously passed the resolution.”

But the DNR is not likely to approve the board’s request. DNR Regional Director Dan Baumann believes expanding the study would damage its integrity. “There will be a modeling effort done in the Town of Saratoga, just not as part of this Little Plover River modeling effort.”

Baumann says the DNR will assess the impact of the high-capacity wells in Saratoga as a regular part of the permitting process.

“Golden Sands will have to do their own analysis of groundwater and the impacts, and then the department is charged with validating that it’s adequate,” says Baumann. “So if you’re going to dry up Sevenmile, Tenmile, Fourteenmile Creek, the Department isn’t authorized to give them an approval.”

Baumann says the agency may ask Golden Sands to scale back its request if there is an impact on groundwater.

Golden Sands officials did not return phone calls in time for this story.