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Hancock County, Iowa, Cattle Feeder Agrees to Innovative Settlement for Violating Water Permit

Release Date: 09/19/2013
Contact Information: Ben Washburn, 913-551-7364, washburn.ben@epa.gov

Environmental News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(Lenexa, Kan., Sept. 19, 2013) - Branstad Farms, a cattle feedlot in Hancock County, Iowa, has agreed to pay a $5,100 civil penalty and perform a $26,000 Supplemental Environmental Project to settle alleged violations of the facility’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit.

Branstad Farms, of Forest City, Iowa, did not maintain adequate records associated with the land application of liquid effluent and manure from its feedlot and did not perform sampling of the materials and soil, as required by the NPDES permit.

“This settlement is the first of its kind in Region 7 concentrated animal feeding operation enforcement,” EPA Regional Administrator Karl Brooks said. “Branstad Farms’ willingness to undertake an environmental project like wetland restoration in lieu of a portion of their penalty will benefit Iowa’s water quality. Wetlands provide critical habitat for plants, fish and wildlife; replenish and clean water supplies; and provide recreational opportunities.”

Branstad Farms’ facility has the capacity for approximately 2,500 cattle in confinement barns and outdoor pens, according to an administrative consent agreement filed by EPA Region 7 in Lenexa, Kan.

Failure to perform sampling or properly document land applications of a feedlot’s manure and manure-containing process wastewater can increase the risk that crops and fields may receive excessive amounts of feedlot-related contaminants. Over-application can significantly increase the risk that pollutants will end up in nearby streams and water bodies.

As part of the settlement agreement, Branstad Farms has certified that it is now in compliance with the Clean Water Act. The consent agreement is subject to a 40-day public comment period before it becomes final.

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