Wisconsin Department of Justice announces lawsuit against Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery

Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery
Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery(WEAU)
Published: Sep. 27, 2023 at 7:58 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WEAU) - The Wisconsin Department of Justice is suing Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery for allegedly violating its wastewater discharge permit.

Attorney General Josh Kaul says the DOJ is requiring Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery to pay a $250,000 penalty due to excessive water pollution, as well as install additional pollution control equipment.

“To protect both our environment and human health, our water should be free of unlawful wastewater discharges,” Attorney General Kaul said. “Wastewater discharge permit holders must help safeguard clean water by following the terms of their permits.”

The state alleges that between Oct. of 2017 and Aug. of 2022, Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery repeatedly exceeded the waste limit provided by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

The complaint alleges the violations negatively impacted the water quality and water environment of Isabelle Creek, a trout stream used by local anglers.

A civil complaint was initially filed by the DOJ in Pierce County court last November.

Paul Bauer, CEO and General Manager, Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery, released the following statement:

“Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery is dedicated to the protection and preservation of our natural resources. Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery reached a settlement with the State of Wisconsin following unforeseen issues involving discharges of treated wastewater effluent and is working with the DNR to ensure that future issues do not occur. The settlement includes a significant commitment of resources by our farmer-owned cooperative to upgrade our wastewater treatment system. Any wastewater effluent discharged over permit limits was completely unintentional and addressed immediately, with complete follow-up reporting to and cooperation with the DNR. We are proud to have been a part of the Ellsworth community for more than 100 years thanks to our farmer-owners who share our deep commitment to environmental responsibility, and we will remain dedicated to protecting the environment and its natural resources.”

Additional information is available HERE.