MADISON, Wis. (Legal Newsline) - Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced a judgment on Wednesday against sister dairy companies based in Granton, Wis., over alleged environmental violations.
The Clark County Circuit Court entered the judgment on Sept. 1 against Lynn Dairy Inc. and Lynn Proteins Inc., requiring the companies to reimburse the Department of Natural Resources for its costs to pay $2,000 to the Department of Justice for fees and to pay $7,000 in mandatory court costs, surcharges and forfeitures to the Clark County clerk of courts.
"The DOJ will continue to work with the DNR to enforce Clean Water Act permit and spills law violations in order to protect Wisconsin's waters and to ensure companies take preventive action to avoid discharges like this one," Van Hollen said.
Lynn Dairy Inc. and Lynn Proteins Inc. are sister companies that process whey and cheese out of shared facilities in rural Clark County, Wis. The companies have been jointly permitted under the Wisconsin Pollution Discharge Elimination System program for over 30 years.
In July 2009, employees of Lynn Dairy reversed the flow of water to dislodge a clog in their evaporator. This allegedly caused "permeate," a thick cream substance, to discharge with cooling water into Cunningham Creek.
The DNR learned of the discharge through a hotline complaint. An unknown quantity of permeate allegedly made significant depletions of the dissolved oxygen levels in the water and coated the creek bed with white sediment. The depletion of oxygen killed non-game fish and aquatic insects for a 12 mile stretch downstream of the facility.
Lynn Dairy took immediate action to identify the cause, prevent a recurrence and clean up the creek after learning of the discharge. The DNR spent approximately $4,000 responding to the discharge.