August 01, 2011

 

 Fines, cleanup, and warnings follow waste violations

 
 
posted July 13, 2011
 

An egg production company agreed to pay about $5.4 million in fines, cleanup costs, and construction costs to settle complaints about illegal waste dumping at seven facilities in Oklahoma and Texas, federal authorities announced in May.

Mahard Egg Farm Inc. will pay about $1.9 million in fines and spend about $3.5 million to bring company facilities up to standards following a settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Justice, an EPA announcement states.

The company was accused of failing to properly design and operate its wastewater and manure lagoons, overapplying poultry manure to fields, allowing untreated wastewater to flow into waterways, failing to maintain grass buffer strips along waterways, failing to comply with a construction storm water permit, failing to ensure adequate drinking water for employees at one of its facilities, and violating related state laws.

Owners of a beef feedlot in Iowa also agreed to pay a $20,000 civil penalty for illegally dumping animal waste into a creek and its tributaries, according to the EPA. The company, Moran Beef, had applied for a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit and had built controls to prevent discharges since January 2010, when the EPA directed the company to comply with Clean Water Act regulations.

The EPA also issued in May compliance orders regarding alleged Clean Water Act violations at four feedlots in Iowa, two in Kansas, and one in Nebraska.

The agency accused feedlot operators of failing to keep adequate storage capacity in waste lagoons, keeping cattle in areas with inadequate waste controls, illegally dumping waste into streams and wetlands, operating without National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits, failing to keep adequate records of waste spread on land, and failing to perform required sampling of manure, wastewater, and land.

Preventing animal waste from contaminating surface water and groundwater is one of the EPA's six national enforcement initiatives for 2011-2013. Others relate to minimizing environmental harm from mineral processing, fuel extraction, and industrial and power plant–related air pollution, and keeping raw sewage and contaminated storm water out of U.S. waters.

Information from the EPA states that manure from concentrated animal feeding operations, when improperly managed, can carry disease-causing pathogens, nutrients, and other contaminants to surface water and groundwater. The Clean Water Act prohibits discharge of pollutants from point sources to surface waters without National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits, which include requirements for waste management at CAFOs.

The AVMA has information on waste management and disposal at www.avma.org/wastedisposal.