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By LeAnn R. Ralph
TOWN OF EMERALD — A water sample from the Emerald Town Hall taken in October of 2020 has tested at 40.3 mg/L, which is four times above the public health recommendation of 10 mg/L.
The concerned citizens group, Emerald Clean Water, made an open records request for reports on water samples taken at the town hall and provided those reports to the Tribune Press Reporter.
According to the report from UW-Stevens Point on the water sample from last October, “water greater than 10m/L of nitrate should not be consumed by infants less than 6 months of age or pregnant women. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services recommends that all persons should avoid long-term consumption of water with nitrate/nitrogen concentrations greater than 10 mg/L. You may choose to reduce your exposure to nitrate by installing an approved water treatment device (reverse osmosis, distillation or anion exchange), purchasing bottled water or investigating the possibility that a new well would result in lower nitrate levels.”
Recent studies conducted in Iowa indicate high nitrate levels in drinking water also are associated with bladder and thyroid cancers in adults, according to information provided by Emerald Clean Water.
According to the water quality test reports, the nitrate level at the Emerald Town Hall was 6.9 mg/L when the well was drilled in 2007.
In February of 2017, the water at the Emerald Town Hall tested at 26.8 mg/L for nitrate.
In March of 2017, the water at the town hall tested at 19.1 mg/L for nitrate.
In April of 2017, the nitrate level at the town hall had increased to 27.0 mg/L.
In July of 2017, the nitrate level at the town hall had decreased to 20.7 mg/L.
In October of 2017, the nitrate level at the town hall had increased again to 32 mg/L.
In January of 2018, the nitrate level at the town hall increased once again to 33.4 mg/L, although a water sample from June of 2018 tested at 22.5 mg/L, and a sample from October of 2018 tested at 19.5 mg/L.
By April of 2019, the level of nitrate had increased again to 32.8 mg/L.
In January of 2020, the nitrate level at the town hall was 37.3 mg/L.
The water at the Emerald Town Hall, located on county Highway G, is tested regularly amid concerns about Emerald Sky Dairy, which is across the road from the town hall.
Emerald Clean Water reports that St. Croix County plans to hold several free nitrate screening clinics this year, the first of which was scheduled on April 6.
The Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit (WPDES) for Emerald Sky Dairy expired in June of 2020.
Emerald Sky Dairy also has applied to expand the operation to 4,620 animals units, or 3,330 cows.
Emerald Clean Water intends to request that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources hold public hearings on the renewal request for the WPDES permit and on the application to expand the dairy.
Emerald Sky Dairy is reportedly listed for sale.