Letter to the Editor: Door County Imports Kewaunee Manure

Yes, you read this correctly: Kewaunee manure is imported to Door County. This practice, known to very few Northern Door residents, has been going on for years but is well known to many Southern Door people as the rumble, sight and smell are hard to ignore. 

During peak periods more than 100 tanker trucks a day, each loaded with about 6,000 gallons of liquid manure cross the county line. Kewaunee County is about half the size of Door County and has a population of roughly 20,000 people and about 107,000 cows. On average, each human produces about two pounds of poop per day and each bovine 80 pounds. No need to do the math, that is a lot of it.

As a result of Kewaunee’s decade-long struggle to get their well contamination under control, their spreading regulations are stricter than Door’s and they are running out of land to spread on and here is nearby southern Door County. Recently I attended a presentation about the Door County well water testing program, a very good program. During the presentation it was suggested that this is a proactive program. I disagree with that, because one tests if one suspects there might be levels of contamination that exceeds health standards in drinking water. The major culprit in our karst area is manure spreading. A more proactive approach would be to drastically reduce the practice of spreading, especially under high runoff circumstances. This includes better regulation and enforcement. Are we testing up to the point that health standards are exceeded? Will we see then a photo-op with local officials with hardhats (safety first) and a few pallets of bottled water producing a big check with the remark: Local officials have your backs with free bottled water? If you think this is far fetched, please talk to our Kewaunee neighbors. 

Robert Sijgers

Forestville, Wisconsin