EPA in Wisconsin

Kewaunee County Groundwater


In October 2014, environmental groups formally requested emergency action by EPA to address groundwater contamination issues in Kewaunee County. The environmental groups asked EPA to exercise its emergency authority under the Safe Drinking Water Act to investigate the source of contamination, take action to address the source of the problem, and provide clean drinking water to residents. In response to this request, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources convened the Groundwater Collaboration WorkgroupExit

The Groundwater Collaboration Workgroup provided recommendations on four issues:
  1. short-term solutions
  2. best management practices/sensitive areas
  3. compliance
  4. communications

The Groundwater Collaboration Workgroup Final Report Exit was completed in June 2016.

Four recommendations included in the final report identified the need for actions by EPA, WDNR and Kewaunee County:

  1. Further evaluation and review of existing enforcement processes. Specific considerations include changes to action taken at CAFOs for second offenses and changes to actions taken by Kewaunee County for noncompliance with county regulated programs. (DNR, County, EPA)
  2. Develop guidance that defines and explains “substantial compliance” requirements for CAFO permit reissuance. Could include inspection checklist updates, staff training, template reporting resources, and clearer permit conditions. (DNR, EPA)
  3. Resources/Technology for agricultural compliance staff use and efficiency (internal/non-public) – database of information electronically accessible for multiple compliance agencies. (EPA, DNR, County)
  4. Staffing - Add compliance staff position(s) (DNR Agricultural Runoff/Nonpoint Specialists) to conduct improved compliance oversight of existing regulations regarding agriculture in sensitive areas. Fill vacancies in a timely manner. (DNR) In the text of this recommendation, the workgroup recommended joint-agency training be provided to DNR inspectors by EPA, DNR, NRCS, DATCP and Kewaunee County.

EPA is committed to implementing these recommendations needing federal action to the extent our authorities allow. EPA will also continue to monitor and facilitate implementation of other recommendations by other federal, state and local agencies within our authorities to ensure protection of public health.


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