(Press Release) MADISON — On September 1, 2011, the Clark County Circuit Court entered a judgment against Lynn Dairy Inc. and Lynn Proteins, Inc., of Granton, requiring Lynn Dairy to reimburse the Department of Natural Resources for its costs, to pay $2,000 to the Department of Justice for its fees and to pay $7,000 in forfeitures, mandatory court costs and surcharges to the Clark County Clerk of Courts.
“The Department of Justice will continue to work with the Department of Natural Resources 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,” Attorney General Van Hollen said.
According to the complaint, Lynn Dairy, Inc. and Lynn Proteins, Inc. are sister companies that process cheese and whey out of shared facilities in rural Clark County. The two companies (Lynn Dairy) have been jointly permitted under the Wisconsin Pollution Discharge Elimination System (WPDES) program for more than 30 years.
In July of 2009, Lynn Dairy employees reversed the flow of water to dislodge a clog in their evaporator. They were unaware that the evaporator feed line connected to the roof drain, so they also did not know the reverse flow 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 had significantly depleted the water's dissolved oxygen levels, and it had coated the creek bed with white sediment. The oxygen depletion killed non-game fish and aquatic insects for a 12-mile stretch downstream of the facility.
Although Lynn Dairy took immediate action to identify the cause, to prevent a recurrence and to clean up the Creek after learning of the discharge, the DNR spent approximately $4,000 responding to it.
Assistant Attorney General Diane Milligan represented the State.