The Environmental Protection Agency says it is finalizing a plan to supply water to a group of residents with contaminated wells in Kewaunee County, where manure spreading by large dairy farms has been a growing source of controversy.

Officials from federal, state and county agencies met in Luxemburg with local residents Wednesday to discuss water contamination, farming practices and related issues in the wake of a task force report this summer that called for more controls over manure handling in cattle-intensive northeastern Wisconsin.

The meeting was organized by U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin.

At the meeting, Robert Kaplan, acting regional administrator of the EPA, said his agency would announce a plan to supply water to residents with tainted wells within the next month — or perhaps sooner.

EPA spokesman Pete Cassell said the agency could not elaborate because details are still being hashed out.

Farming practices have been a source of friction in many areas of the state. The issue has been especially visible in Kewaunee County, which has longstanding groundwater problems and a landscape of fractured bedrock and a large cattle population. Fractured bedrock allows manure, waste from septic systems and other pollutants to trickle more quickly through soil into aquifers.

People looking for a clean source of drinking water have been able to obtain free water from a kiosk at the high school in Algoma since February. [ Read More ]

This is a snippet of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Article.