Janesville56.7°

Discussion tabled on Darien lagoon plan

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ANN MARIE AMES
January 28, 2009
— Waste happens.

The challenge is finding the best place to deal with it.


The Town of Darien Plan Commission on Tuesday night tabled discussion on a proposal for a 5 million gallon wastewater storage lagoon in the township. The one-month wait will give village of Darien officials time to learn more about the proposal for a lagoon close to the village line.


The wait also will give the town's attorney time to review legal protection from problems with the lagoon, plan commission member Dan Kilkenny said.


Steve Walter, owner of Walter & Son Waste Hauling, N3368 Highway 14, Darien, has applied to the town for a rezone and a conditional-use permit to build a lagoon about 1,000 feet north of the intersection of Interstate 43 and Highway 14.


The 2.7-acre lagoon would give Walter flexibility in his business, he told the plan commission.


"To stop daily spreading. That's the whole purpose of this application," Walter said. "The DNR wants me to have it. That's why I want it. To control the timing (of waste spreading)."


If Walter could store liquid waste, he could knife—or inject—it into the ground rather than applying it to the soil surface, he said. Surface application is not permitted in the winter, he said.


Walter typically uses surface application for wastewater, sediments and bio-solids, according to his proposal to the town. He applies wastes to 700 acres of farm fields within a 5-mile radius of his farm, he said.


The wastes include manure, sediment from lakes and rivers and industrial wastewater. Walter applies the wastes as part of nutrient management plans, he said. That means he's only applying as much fertilizer as each crop can use in each individual field, Walter said.


The lagoon would be close enough to the village of Darien that residents could be affected, Administrator Marc Dennison said. He asked the town for a little time so engineers and attorneys from both municipalities could talk about options.


"When people hear ‘sludge, pond, lagoon,' they get a little nervous," Dennison said.


Scott McKittrick of Northern Environmental said Walter would be as concerned as anyone about odor from the lagoon.


"He would be removing sludge at least once a year. That will help drastically reduce odors," McKittrick said. "He (Walter) lives right there, too. He doesn't want it to smell, either."


Interstate 43 roughly divides the township from the village. The village's industrial park and some homes are close to I-43.


The village's well is about 1,200 feet from the proposed lagoon site. That complies with Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources regulations, attorney Tim Speerschneider said.


If the town's planning commission decides to approve the application, it could set conditions to control odors, aesthetics and other features of the lagoon. The commission's decision would be advisory to the town board, Kilkenny said.


Walter would have to make a separate application to Walworth County. County officials would take the town's decision into consideration, Kilkenny said.


The site currently is zoned prime agricultural.



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