2 law firms suing farm for contaminating water in Wood and Juneau counties

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MADISON, Wis. (WSAW) -- Two Madison law firms are taking on a farm on behalf of residents in Juneau and Wood Counties living with contaminated water.

Dozens of people living near large farms, in particular the Wysocki Gold Sands Dairy, found nitrate levels three to five times beyond Wisconsin's legal undrinkable limit in their private wells.

These wells and other area sites were tested by both Wood and Juneau county health departments, UW-Stevens Point's environmental department, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Madison law firms, Habush Habush & Rottier, S.C., and Pines Bach LLP did not specify which farm they were taking on, but indicated it as a concentrated animal feed operation (CAFO), meaning a large animal farm.

Habush's Jason Knutson said they will likely request the court to require the CAFO to stop or change its manure spreading practices and request compensation for damages to resident's property and health.

Elevated levels of nitrates usually come from pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizer.

In a July meeting of residents and experts, UWSP researcher, Kevin Masarik said the way the laws are written, even if a farm is to blame, there may not be much legally that can be done to hold them accountable.