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DNR issues pollution discharge permit for Emerald Dairy

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has issued a state pollution discharge or (WPDES) permit to St. Croix County-based Emerald Dairy allowing the facility to discharge water from its state-of-the-art wastewater treatment system to Dry Run Creek rather than having to landspread it - the current standard practice in the nation.

Emerald Dairy's discharged water will be very clean, closely monitored and limited to assure it does not impact the stream.

"John Vrieze and Emerald Dairy have shown remarkable initiative in advancing water quality protection and manure handling in the dairy industry," said DNR Secretary Matt Frank. "They are revolutionizing the dairy industry and putting Wisconsin in the national forefront for progressive and environmentally sensitive farming."

Large farms such as Emerald Dairy, called concentrated animal feeding operations, are required in Wisconsin to obtain wastewater permits from the DNR to monitor and assure manure is handled safely and in a manner that protects the state's waters.

As part of the terms for the modified permit, Emerald Dairy will discharge daily up to 30,000 gallons of water treated using a reverse osmosis system. A number of specific and stringent restrictions on the discharge permit assure protection of surface waters near the facility.

Remaining solids and liquids from the treatment system will be landspread in smaller quantities than traditional operations, making them less susceptible to runoff.

"The staff at the DNR has worked hard to get the Emerald Dairy permit issued, and the results speak for themselves," said Frank. "Emerald Dairy is treating water to comply with state water quality standards and guard against run off pollution.

"This is a great example of our work with the agricultural community to ensure Wisconsin maintains a strong agricultural economy while continuing our commitment to protect the environment," said Frank. "We support the efforts of farmers and the agricultural community as a whole to use technology and innovation to protect the environment and keep Wisconsin's agricultural economy strong."