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Appeals court: Manure is not legal pollutant when spread as fertilizer

A court gavel
A court gavel

WAUKESHA, WI (WTAQ) - A state appeals court ruled Wednesday that manure is not a legal pollutant when it's spread as fertilizer.  

That means that West Bend farmer Robert Falk cannot use insurance money to pay potential damage claims to his neighbors, who sought compensation after claiming that his manure spreading polluted their wells.  

The case began in 2011, when the state DNR told Falk that his manure polluted neighboring wells. The neighbors demanded compensation.  

Falk then contended that his insurance policy from Wilson Mutual covered damage from pollutants including farm waste.

A circuit judge agreed, but the Second District Appellate Court in Waukesha did not agree. It said farmers consider manure a nutrient when it's spread on their fields, and therefore Wilson's Mutual's pollution coverage does not apply in this case.  

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)