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about Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations.
for a Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit.
Contact information
For information on the Pinnacle Dairy, LLC. WPDES permit, contact
Mark Cain

Pinnacle Dairy, LLC.

On October 15, 2015, the Department of Natural Resources received a final Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (WPDES) permit application for Pinnacle Dairy, LLC, a proposed Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) in Green County. The department deemed the final permit application complete for review [PDF DNR FTP] on October 21, 2015. WPDES permits are water quality protection permits designed to ensure proper storage and handling of manure from larger-scale livestock operations. The WPDES permit program does not have authority to address odor, noise, traffic or other issues not related to water quality.

The operation would house approximately 5,800 milking and dry cows. This is equal to 8,294 animal units. Proposed buildings at the site would include six sand bedded freestall barns, a milking parlor, a cow holding area, and a building for sands and manure solids separation and storage. Liquid manure would be stored in one liquid tight concrete lined waste storage facility pond and three high density polyethylene (HDPE) lined waste storage facility ponds, designed to provide more than 360 days of liquid manure storage. The three HDPE ponds are proposed to be covered. The operation would also include feed storage structures. Manure would be removed from storage and land applied according to an approved nutrient management plan.

In January 2016, the department completed review of engineering plans and specifications for the production area reviewable structures (e.g., manure and feed storage) and groundwater quality monitoring plans and specifications for the production area. The production area phase 1 groundwater quality monitoring plan was approved. The production area engineering plans were rejected because the department did not believe that the minimum required separation distance from saturation had been demonstrated for key facilities. In February 2016, the department completed review of a groundwater investigative monitoring plan for the production area, intended to determine if the near surface saturation at the site is perched (separated from regional groundwater). In August 2016, the department responded to the results of the groundwater investigative monitoring. The DNR believes perched saturation has been demonstrated. The decisions issued by the department provide additional explanation and are listed below. These decisions do not constitute a final decision on the issuance of a WPDES permit for Pinnacle Dairy, LLC.

October 2016 plans and specifications

On October 4, 2016, the department received a new set of plans and specifications for the dairy site facilities. In December 2016, the department completed review of the plans and specifications, and an approval for the dairy site facilities was issued. The decisions issued by the department provide additional explanation and are listed below. These decisions do not constitute a final decision on the issuance of a WPDES permit for Pinnacle Dairy, LLC.

» December 28, 2016 - Approval of plans and specifications for reviewable structures [PDF DNR FTP]

WPDES permit is required

Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) like Pinnacle Dairy, LLC., are required to obtain a WPDES permit. The permit regulates how CAFOs store and land apply manure and process wastewater — e.g. milking center wastes and feed storage leachate — in order to protect water quality.

Pinnacle Dairy construction began on May 17, 2017 with earth moving and excavation, and dewatering of perched water, in the area where the manure storage facilities will be located. When dewatering is complete, the required separation from saturation must be demonstrated (the distance measured between the manure storage facilities floors and the saturation level in the soil). Information about construction progress and site management is provided below.

The WPDES permit is needed before the farm populates the site with livestock in numbers equivalent to 1,000 animal units or more (approximately 700 dairy cows).

Draft WPDES permit and public hearing

The department provided public notices in The Monroe Times on August 11, 2017, and in the Brodhead Independent Register on August 16, 2017, announcing the availability of the proposed WPDES permit for public comment and the date of an informational hearing, which was held at 1 p.m., September 15, 2017, at the Albany Lions Club, Albany, Wisconsin. In addition to receiving comments at the informational hearing, the comment period remained open for the public to submit written comments on the permit until September 25, 2017. The next steps in the permitting process are as follows.

  1. The department is currently reviewing and considering all comments received.
  2. Once review of the comments is completed, the DNR will issue a Notice of Final Determination (NOFD) on its final decision on the permit. The NOFD will include responses to comments received and a summary of changes made to the permit based on these comments. This work will be completed as soon as possible.
  3. The NOFD will be sent to everyone who filled out an appearance slip at the informational hearing or provided comments during the comment period.

Construction progress and site management

Construction at the site began in spring 2017 and is anticipated to continue through most of 2018. Construction to date is summarized as follows.

  • Some of the first work at the site was dewatering to remove perched water, and this work continued through 2017.
  • Construction of a berm around the site has been completed to prevent storm water from flowing onto the site, and to provide secondary containment in the event of a spill of manure or process wastewater.
  • Much of the feed storage facility has been completed and harvested feed has been put into the facility. Runoff from the feed storage facility is currently being collected and transferred, with DNR approval, to a CAFO in Rock County (operated by the owners of Pinnacle Dairy), or land applied to fields in Pinnacle Dairy’s Nutrient Management Plan. Feed storage facility runoff will be directed to a manure storage facility at Pinnacle Dairy once construction of the storage facility is completed.

WPDES permit application and related documents

Document/document type Description Contact
WPDES permit documents

WPDES permit public notice documents

  • Public notice
  • Proposed WPDES permit
  • Permit fact sheet
Mark Cain
WPDES permit application forms [DNR FTP]

WPDES permit application forms and general operation information including:

  • Forms 3400-25 & 25A
  • Environmental Review Questionnaire
  • Site maps
  • 180-day storage calculation
Mark Cain
Design plans [DNR FTP]

Design plans for manure storage, feed storage and other structures.

Gretchen Wheat
Nutrient management plan [DNR FTP] Nutrient management plans, including:
  • NMP dated October 1, 2015
  • NMP revisions dated December 2016
  • NMP revisions dated March 2017
  • NMP revisions dated May 2017
Aaron O’Rourke
Last revised: Monday February 19 2018