EPA takes action against six beef feedlots

by Staff
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KANSAS CITY, KAN. –A series of civil enforcement actions has been taken by Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A.) Region 7 against six beef feedlot operations in Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska for violations of the Clean Water Act, as part of an increased emphasis aimed at ending harmful discharges of pollutants from concentrated animal feeding operations (C.A.F.O.s) into the region’s rivers and streams.

C.A.F.O. runoffs contain pollutants such as pathogens, heavy metals, hormones, antibiotics, sediment and ammonia, as well as nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous, all of which can harm aquatic life and impact water quality, according to E.P.A.

Of the six enforcement actions, two include penalties where C.A.F.O.s failed to comply with their National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (N.P.D.E.S.) permits. The two proposed penalty settlements with the C.A.F.O.s that follow are each subject to a 40-day public comment period before they may be finalized.

Jewell County Feeders LLC, Mankato, Kan., has agreed to pay a $10,800 civil penalty for N.P.D.E.S. permit violations associated with improper stockpiling of manure. These violations risked discharges of pollutants to Limestone Creek and its tributaries in Jewell County, Kan.

Platte Valley Feeders LLC, Kearney, Neb., has agreed to pay a $20,000 civil penalty for N.P.D.E.S. permit violations associated with land application of manure and waste water from its storage lagoons at rates that exceeded nutrient management plan requirements. The over-application of manure created a significant risk that pollutants would reach the Wood River in Buffalo County, Neb.

The remaining four enforcement actions are administrative compliance orders issued to the following large and medium C.A.F.O.s. Large C.A.F.O.s are cattle feedlots with greater than 1,000 head of cattle, and medium C.A.F.O.s are feedlots with between 300 and 999 head of cattle that are required to apply for N.P.D.E.S. permits or cease pollutant discharges. E.P.A. has documented significant water quality problems associated with medium C.A.F.O.s and is making enforcement at these C.A.F.O.s a priority.

Sandhill Farm Inc., Rock Valley, Iowa, must immediately reduce the number of cattle it confines below 1,000, apply for an N.P.D.E.S. permit and complete wastewater controls at its facility to end unauthorized discharges of pollutants into a tributary of the Rock River in Sioux County, Iowa.

Kooima Custom Feed, Rock Valley, Iowa, must apply for an N.P.D.E.S. permit and implement a series of wastewater controls at its facilities to end unauthorized discharges of wastewater into a tributary of the Rock River in Sioux County, Iowa.

Albert Rens, Ireton, Iowa, must apply for an N.P.D.E.S. permit and complete wastewater controls to end unauthorized discharges of wastewater into a tributary of the West Branch of Floyd Creek in Sioux County, Iowa.

Darwin Rus, Rock Valley, Iowa, must apply for an N.P.D.E.S. permit and complete wastewater controls to end unauthorized discharges of wastewater into a tributary of the Rock River in Sioux County, Iowa.
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