A politically-connected cattle operation in Adams County is seeking, and will probably be granted, permission to pollute the area drinking water supply in a case which reflects an ugly turn in the continued politicization of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. It also reveals what could be a disturbing precedent in groundwater regulations.
Before I get to the really good stuff a little history is in order.
An Ozaukee County dairy producer, Jeffrey Opitz, owned and operated Opitz Custom Heifers in the Town of Richfield in Adams County. There he has four feed lots containing over 4,000 animals. While they await their graduation to become dairy cows heifers don't do much besides moo, eat, drink, piss and shit. Not necessarily in that order.
Adams County is located in the environmentally sensitive Central Sands region of the state and the nitrates generated by all that waste easily leaches into the groundwater supply. With animals grazing on the open ground and a high water table that doesn't take long.
It is important to note that the DNR enforcement standard, and human health standard for nitrates in groundwater/drinking water is 10 mg/L. Anything greater than that can trigger ill effects, most notably blue baby syndrome, a reaction that causes infants to lose oxygen in their bloodstream.