Van Hollen reaches settlement of well-drilling charges

Nick Rees Jan. 14, 2010, 3:17pm

Van Hollen

MADISON, Wis. (Legal Newsline) - A series of alleged well-drilling violations in several Wisconsin counties will cost a Wisconsin corporation $40,000, Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has announced.

Tom Butterfield, Inc., doing business as Tom Butterfield Well Drilling in Stone Lake, agreed to pay penalties and costs totaling $40,000 for its well drilling violations in Sawyer, Ashland, Burnett and Washburn counties.

Tom Butterfield was alleged in a civil complaint to have failed to notify 418 owners of impermissible well contaminants and, on 563 occasions, to have submitted water samples beyond the require time limits. The company is also alleged to have filed late well construction reports on 329 occasions.

The civil complaint also alleges that Tom Butterfield failed to maintain annular spaces at three wells, used improper grouting at three different wells and provided improper casing at three of these wells.

An inaccurate report was filed with the Department of Natural Resources by Tom Butterfield, according to the allegations, which also say that the company was responsible for numerous high capacity well violations at the Hayward Country Club.

Tom Butterfield, Inc., and Thomas Butterfield remediated the challenged wells and submitted the missing reports while the case, filed in Dane County, was pending. Charges against Thomas Butterfield were subsequently dismissed.

The settlement agreement between Tom Butterfield and the Wisconsin Department of Justice was approved Tuesday by Dane County Circuit Court Judge C. William Foust, who ordered the company to pay a penalty of $40,000 for the violations.

"The Wisconsin Department of Justice and the Department of Natural Resources will continue to work together to investigate and enforce Wisconsin's regulations of well drilling," Van Hollen said.

"The State's well drilling regulations and reporting system are important to the consumers of the water and to avoid contamination of our state's ground waters by the improper construction of wells."

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