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Wednesday

September 2014

17

Ashippun wants answers from EPA on Davy Creek

Officials: Agency didn't finish the job at Davy Creek

Town of Ashippun - Before officials pursue spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to dredge Davy Creek, they want to see documentation from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) confirming a past agreement between the two parties.

Officials say the documents would confirm an agreement that goes back decades regarding the EPA's cleanup of the area after a former business, Oconomowoc Electroplating, contaminated the water.

The EPA cleaned up the site, but the town claims they didn't do the entire job by clearing out the creek bed and making the water flow correctly, said Town Chairman Steve Panozzo. Officials said the creek needs to be dredged to correct flooding.

The town has been debating spending money to dredge the creek for several years. Officials recently got the necessary permits and received bids on the dredging. Panozzo said the bids came in at more than $225,000.

"We really don't have the financial ability to do that right now, and I don't think the town would support spending the money right now," Panozzo said.

However, he said, when he was elected two years ago, he and fellow officials, including Supervisor James Meyer, recognized Davy Creek was a complicated problem that needed to be addressed. Part of the solution, Panozzo said, was to answer questions related to dredging, including cost and where the material could be placed; they discovered farm fields is an option.

But today, a bigger question remains, said Meyer. That is a debate between the town and the EPA on who is responsible for dredging a portion of the creek.

He said there was an agreement for the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the town and the EPA to correct contamination and creek bed issues. That agreement had the DNR taking care of the creek from the edge of Firemen's Park to the Rock River, the EPA from Firemen's Park to Lincoln Road, and the town from Lincoln Road to Highway 67.

"The DNR did their portion, but where we have a problem is the EPA portion," Meyer said, adding the town could do its portion but it wouldn't make much of a difference because the EPA's section lies between the other two.

Meyer said in the past he has had no luck trying to work with the EPA, but Meyer said with the help of Sen. Ron Johnson, he has had more response in trying to get answers.

Meyer said, from his understanding, the EPA had originally said it would take care of the contamination and dredge the creek, "but somewhere the scope has changed.

"They have not been back to answer why we don't have a defined creek bed. We had one before they came in, and it worked just fine; granted, there was sediment in there, it silted in over the years, but there was still a defined bed," Meyer said.

He said the paper trail on the past work and agreements the EPA said the town signed off on is hazy. "I've requested documents and hopefully Sen. Johnson's office will help put more speed on it," he added.

He said he'd like to see who allowed the EPA to "just dig out the creek and have no regulation on keeping the creek bed," Meyer said.

The EPA did not respond by press time.

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