AG Van Hollen: Well driller Donald S. Fedie to pay $50,000 for well construction code violations

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MADISON/MONDOVI – The Wisconsin Department of Justice has filed and settled a lawsuit against West Central Wisconsin well driller Donald S. Fedie and his company, Fedie Well Drilling & Pump Service, Inc. (collectively “Fedie”), for violations of state well construction regulations, Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced today.

Well drillers are required by law to submit well construction reports and to test new wells for coliform bacteria within 30 days after constructing the wells. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) requires timely well construction reports so that it can promptly identify well construction violations. The DNR, the State of Wisconsin Geologic and Natural History Survey, and other well drillers use the well construction reports to evaluate local geology. The DNR and well owners need bacteria test results so that they know new wells produce water that is safe to drink. According to the State’s complaint, filed at the request of the DNR, the majority of the well construction reports for wells drilled by Fedie have been submitted late. Some have been years late; some have still not been submitted. Of the water sample reports Fedie has submitted, almost half are late; again, some are years late.

The complaint also charges Fedie with drilling one well too close to a landfill and another well too close to a septic system without first obtaining variances from well code separation distances. Variances for these wells were sought two and four years after well construction. Had DNR imposed additional construction requirements as variance conditions, Fedie would have been in no place to implement them.

As part of the parties’ settlement, Fedie has agreed to submit to DNR all known outstanding well construction and water sample reports. He will pay $50,000 in forfeitures, fees and costs, and has also agreed to pay additional forfeitures if he submits late reports or fails to obtain necessary variances during the next two years.

In announcing the settlement, Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen stressed the need for the drillers of water wells of Wisconsin to obey the law. “The Wisconsin Department of Justice will continue to work with the Department of Natural Resources to insure that Wisconsin’s well drillers comply with rules intended to provide safe drinking water wells for the citizens of Wisconsin,” Van Hollen said.

Dane County Circuit Court Judge Nicholas McNamara approved the parties’ settlement agreement. Assistant Attorney General Diane Milligan represented the State.