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EPA Issues Compliance Orders to Seven Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations in Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska

Release Date: 05/16/2011
Contact Information: Chris Whitley, 913-551-7394, whitley.christopher@epa.gov

Environmental News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(Kansas City, Kan., May 16, 2011) - EPA Region 7 announced today that it has issued administrative compliance orders to seven concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) in Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska, directing those operations to correct a range of violations of the federal Clean Water Act.

Region 7’s latest round of CAFO enforcement activity, aimed at encouraging producers’ compliance with the Clean Water Act and the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting program, involves seven beef feedlots, including four in Iowa, two in Kansas and one in Nebraska.

“Feedlot-related pollutants have significantly contributed to water quality problems, causing states to list streams as impaired under the Clean Water Act,” EPA Regional Administrator Karl Brooks said. “As Clean Water Act permits provide a crucial tool to maintain water quality, EPA works with our state partners and stakeholders to promote producers' legal compliance. Enforcing feedlot permits and requiring producers to get them, where appropriate, will produce cleaner waters and likely require fewer enforcement actions in the future.”

Wastewater discharges and runoff from CAFOs and lands where those operations store or apply manure and wastes can cause exceedances of water quality standards, pose risks to human health, threaten aquatic life and its habitat, and impair the use and enjoyment of waterways.

Violations noted in the seven separate administrative compliance orders include wastewater discharges by unpermitted medium and large CAFOs, discharges by a large CAFO in violation of its NPDES permit, failures to maintain adequate storage capacity for wastes, and a large CAFO’s failure to adequately track its land application activities to ensure that area surface waters are protected:

Crossroads Cattle Co., Woodbine, Iowa - An inspection and review of the NPDES-permitted open beef feedlot identified failures to maintain adequate storage capacity in its lagoons, and confinement of cattle in areas lacking adequate controls to prevent unauthorized discharges. The order requires the operation to cease use of areas with inadequate controls and ensure wastewater levels in retention structures are in compliance with its NPDES permit. Discharges from the feedlot flow to a tributary of the Boyer River in Harrison County. The feedlot has a permitted capacity of 5,500 cattle and was confining approximately 3,200 to 3,500 cattle at the time of the inspection.

Feedlot Services Company, Neola, Iowa - Inspection found the unpermitted operation was confining 809 beef cattle in an open feedlot that discharges into Keg Creek in Pottawattamie County. The order requires the operation, which has a confinement capacity of 999 cattle, to cease unauthorized discharges or apply for an NPDES permit within 90 days and construct controls before September 30, 2012.

Harlan Northrup, d/b/a Harlan Northrup Feedlot, Griswold, Iowa - Inspection found the unpermitted operation was confining approximately 350 beef cattle in an open feedlot that discharges into a federally recognized wetland and a tributary of Boughman’s Creek in Cass County. The order requires the operation, which has a confinement capacity of 800 cattle, to cease unauthorized discharges or apply for an NPDES permit within 90 days and construct controls before September 30, 2012.

Petersen-Bubke LLP, Mapleton, Iowa - Inspection found the unpermitted operation was confining 1,050 beef cattle in an open feedlot that discharges into Rush Creek in Monona County. The order requires the operation to cease unauthorized discharges or apply for an NPDES permit within 90 days and construct controls before September 30, 2012.

KM Feeders, Lyons, Kan. - Inspection and file review of the NPDES-permitted feedlot found failures to maintain adequate storage capacity in its lagoons. The order requires the operation to ensure wastewater levels in retention structures are in compliance with its NPDES permit, and provide monthly reports to EPA. Discharges from the feedlot would flow to Dry Creek, which is officially listed by EPA and the State of Kansas as an impaired water because of phosphorous and total suspended solids levels. The feedlot has a permitted capacity of 5,200 cattle and was confining at capacity at the time of the inspection.

McPherson County Feeders, Marquette, Kan. - Inspection and file review of the NPDES-permitted feedlot found failures to maintain adequate storage capacity in its lagoons. The order requires the operation to ensure wastewater levels in retention structures are in compliance with its NPDES permit, install legible staff gauges in its retention structures, and provide monthly reports to EPA. Discharges from the feedlot would flow into Sharps Creek in McPherson County. Sharps Creek is officially listed by EPA and the State of Kansas as an impaired water because of E. coli and total suspended solid levels. The feedlot has a permitted capacity of 13,000 cattle and was confining approximately 8,506 cattle at the time of the inspection.

Knox County Feeders, Bloomfield, Neb. - As part of a compliance evaluation, EPA determined that the open beef feedlot had failed to sample its manure, process wastewater and land application areas as required by the terms of its Nutrient Management Plan (NMP) and its NPDES permit, and was unable to provide adequate records associated with its land applications. Those failures made it impossible to determine application rates for manure disposal, putting nearby surface water at the risk of potentially harmful discharges. The order requires the operation to update its NMP and meet all sampling and recordkeeping requirements of the NMP and NPDES permit. The feedlot has a permitted capacity of 5,000 cattle.

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Learn more about EPA’s civil enforcement of the Clean Water Act

Learn more about the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) and how it regulates concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs)

Read a summary (1 pg, 28K About PDF) of how the NPDES regulations define large, medium and small CAFOs

EPA Region 7 offers 10 tips to help CAFO owners and operators prepare for inspections