DoJ: Announces Water System Violations Case in Rock Co. Is Settled

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Kelly Kennedy 608/266-7876

MADISON – Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager announced today that her office has settled an environmental protection lawsuit against Jerry Shinkay and Keith Holden, both of Janesville, as owners and operators of the Edgerton Shell Oasis, Inc. located at 568 Haugen Road, Town of Albion, Rock County, Wisconsin. The defendants will pay $88,000 to bring the site into compliance after violations were committed over the improper installation and operation of a water treatment system.

As part of the operation, the defendants owned and operated a public drinking water system, including a water well and distribution system that serves a truck stop, restaurant, and gasoline filling station.

Investigation and monitoring by the Department of Natural Resources determined that the water system produced consistently high levels of Tetrachloroethylene (PCE). The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets national drinking water standards and has determined that Tetrachloroethylene is a health concern at certain levels of exposure. Some people who drink water containing Tetrachloroethylene in excess of the maximum contaminant level (MCL) over many years could have problems with their liver, and may have an increased risk of getting cancer.

The complaint alleged that the defendants violated Wisconsin law and Department of Natural Resources regulations by failing to properly install and operate the water treatment system. In the settlement the defendants agreed to pay forfeitures, costs, and expenses of more than $88,000 to bring the site into compliance. The state’s Petroleum Storage Environmental Clean Up Fund also provided more than $169,000 towards the clean up. The total cost of remediation was $246,565. The defendants cooperated in bringing Edgerton Oasis into compliance and the drinking water at the facility is now safe for both the public and employees.

In announcing the settlement Lautenschlager stressed the need for owners and operators of public water systems to insure the safety of the water they supply to the public and their employees.

“If water treatment systems are not properly installed and maintained the health risks to those who drink the water, especially over time, is substantial,” Lautenschlager said. “For example, the risk of liver disease or cancer is much greater with prolonged exposure. For everyone’s benefit, safe drinking water standards are enforced in Wisconsin.”

The Department of Justice filed the lawsuit at the request of the Department of Natural Resources. Assistant Attorney General Jerry Hancock represented the State.