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ANIMAL FEEDLOT OPERATORS IN EASTERN NEBRASKA CITED FOR CLEAN WATER ACT VIOLATIONS

Release Date: 08/31/2005
Contact Information:

Environmental News
Martin Kessler
(913) 551-7236

kessler.martin@epa.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 31, 2005

ANIMAL FEEDLOT OPERATORS IN EASTERN NEBRASKA CITED FOR CLEAN WATER ACT VIOLATIONS

EPA Region 7 has cited two operators of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) in eastern Nebraska for violating the Clean Water Act, stemming from their illegal discharge of wastewater and runoff from livestock facilities into nearby streams or rivers.

EPA ordered both CAFO operators to promptly construct proper livestock waste control facilities to stop pollutants from the feedlots from causing further harm to the environment. Both facilities will also pay a civil penalty. These enforcement cases were finalized earlier in August following a 40-day public notice and comment period.

EPA brought these actions largely due to the failure of both feedlot operators to comply with the requirements of the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) in a timely way.

"EPA is committed to working closely with NDEQ to protect water quality in Nebraska,” said Jim Gulliford, EPA Region 7 administrator. “We will take action when facilities that cause water pollution do not fully cooperate with NDEQ.”

EPA cited DB Feedyards, Inc., near Tekamah (40 miles north of Omaha), for the unauthorized discharge of pollutants into a tributary of Bell Creek, which flows into the Elkhorn River. DB Feedyards had been operating its facility without proper waste controls for more than 15 years in violation of the Clean Water Act. It had not fully complied with previous orders from NDEQ to come into compliance.

DB Feedyards must pay a penalty of $135,000. This case was finalized August 29, 2005.

EPA also cited J&S Feedlots, Inc., near Dodge (50 miles northwest of Omaha), for the unauthorized discharge of pollutants into a tributary of Pebble Creek, which flows into the Elkhorn River. J&S Feedlots has operated its facility since 1993, and failed to comply with an order from NDEQ in 2002 to install additional waste controls.

J&S Feedlots must pay a penalty of $47,000. This enforcement case was finalized August 11, 2005.

Both of these CAFOs discharge into tributaries of the Elkhorn River. Parts of the Elkhorn River have been listed by NDEQ as “impaired” for fecal coliform, which means that the water is unfit for human contact due to high levels of bacteria. Wastewater discharges and runoff from livestock operations are partly responsible for this impairment.

Wastewater discharges from livestock operations contain numerous pollutants, often at harmful levels. The Clean Water Act requires feedlots to prevent the discharge of all feedlot runoff because of the high pollutant levels it contains.

Feedlot wastewater typically contains a number of bacterial and viral pathogens (such as Salmonella), as well as parasites (such as Cryptosporidium). Illnesses caused by ingestion of these microorganisms can result in gastroenteritis, fever, and kidney failure.

Animal wastes are also typically high in nutrients, including ammonia and other pollutants, which can cause decreased oxygen levels in receiving waters. These depleted oxygen levels can adversely impact fish and other aquatic life. In addition, ammonia above certain concentrations in surface water is toxic to fish.


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