MILWAUKEE, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- A Wisconsin dairy farm has been given permission to double its herd despite environmentalists' concerns that manure might poison groundwater supplies.
The Department of Natural Resources approved a permit by Fon du Lac County's Rosendale Dairy to expand its herd from 4,000 to 8,000 cows, making it Wisconsin's largest dairy operation, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
Rosendale told the newspaper Friday the expansion represents an investment of more than $70 million.
But an attorney for the environmental group Clean Wisconsin sees the approval of Rosendale's expansion as a step toward more large dairy farms, the Journal Sentinel said.
The director of Clean Wisconsin's water program, Melissa Malott, said Rosendale's expansion will lead to contamination of the area's groundwater, and the DNR should have required the farm to install a wastewater treatment plant for the manure.
"This permit absolutely fails to protect the environment," she said.
Rosendale said it has spent about $6 million on a partial sewage treatment plant.
"We've taken existing laws as far as they can go to assure that significant safeguards are in place to maximize protection for the environment," said the DNR's Gordon Stevenson.