TOWN OF CONCORD (WKOW) -- Department of Natural Resource enforcement officers issued five citations against a company called Herr Environmental Inc. of Oconomowoc, after determining the company had dumped human waste on its rural Jefferson County property at three times the level allowed by their permit.
Now, neighbors want the company to make sure their drinking water is still safe.
Gary Goldbeck has lived on his Town of Concord property for 40 years and told 27 News he has had enough of the way Herr Environmental operates.
"He definitely broke the law," said Goldbeck, referring to company owner Richard Herr.
That was also the conclusion reached by DNR enforcement officers, when they recommended the Wisconsin Department of Justice look at Herr's activities.
But DNR Executive Assistant Scott Gunderson, who took campaign money from Herr when he was a Republican state legislator, ignored that request.
Former Democratic Governor Tony Earl joined neighbors and current Democratic legislators
for a news conference on Wednesday, asking for that problem to be
"What happened in this incident, its unprecedented, its outrageous and its indefensible," said Earl.
But the neighbors said even more important to them is making sure their water wells are tested, which isn't cheap.
"Ecoli is just an indicator," said Rep. Brett Hulsey (D-Madison). "The studies show that there are other viruses, the tests for which cost thousands of dollars."
"I don't feel its my responsibility," added Goldbeck.
Goldbeck said he saw Herr Vice-President Todd Stair at a recent town board meeting and asked him straight out, if they would pay for his well to be tested.
"Definitely not. He told me, definitely not," said Goldbeck.
Laurel Steffes, a DNR spokesperson, told 27 News it is unlikely the department will force Herr to do that.
The Democratic legislators, who haven't gotten anywhere with getting a formal public hearing on the matter, said it may be time to explore other options.
"We may want to ask the EPA to take over the entire state drinking water program," said Rep. Hulsey.
Steffes told 27 News that while administrators didn't ask the Department of Justice to look at this case, they did ensure that all five citations against Herr Environmental were upheld.
Steffes said if the company gets a sixth citation, the DNR has the right to pull Herr's license to haul and dump waste altogether.
MADISON (WKOW) -- A group of Jefferson County landowners wants the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to force an Oconomowoc environmental company to pay for well testing to determine if their drinking water is safe, after DNR investigators found the company had dumped up to three times the amount of human waste than was legally permitted on an adjacent property.
Three of the landowners appeared with Democratic state legislators and representatives of two environmental groups at a news conference at the State Capitol Wednesday afternoon.
The landowners told reporters they don't think they should have to pay for their own well testing, which would cost approximately $250.
The DNR cited Herr Environmental five times for violations, one of which was for dumping excess waste.
Since the excess waste was in such a high amount, those same DNR investigators had recommended the case be referred to the Department of Justice to look into criminal charges, but DNR administrators refused, deciding only to fine Herr.
Capitol Bureau Chief Greg Neumann is following up on this story and will have a full report on 27 News at 5 and 6.
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