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EPA Settles Dairy Waste Case in McMinnville

Release Date: 11/26/2001
Contact Information: Joe Roberto
roberto.joe@epamail.epa.gov
(206) 553-1669


November 26, 2001
01-038
Former owners of C&A Dairy ignored pollution problem for years

The Northwest office of the EPA today announced that it has settled dairy-waste-related Clean Water Act violations with Calvin and Annette VanDerVeen, the former owners of the C & A Dairy in McMinnville. The VanDerVeens have closed the dairy and agreed – without admitting fault – to pay a $1,000 penalty to resolve the lawsuit.

The VanDerVeens were responsible for chronic illegal discharges of manure-laden dairy waste into an unnamed stream on their property. The stream flows into Baker Creek which flows into the Yamhill River, a major tributary of the Willamette River. Dairy waste can contain bacterial, viral, and parasitic pathogens such as E. coli, Salmonella, and Cryptosporidium, which can cause serious illness or death.

On June 18, 1998 the EPA ordered the VanDerVeens to immediately cease all discharges of pollutants from the dairy and to prepare a plan for correcting its significant pollution problem. The VanDerVeens failed to comply with the order, so in August 2000, the EPA filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Oregon asking the court to require the VanDerVeens to comply with EPA's order and cease discharging manure-laden wastes, and to impose civil penalties, which by law can be as much as $27,500 per violation.

"This was a difficult case," said Bub Loiselle, manager of EPA's water quality compliance unit. "The C & A Dairy was the source of a lot of pollution for many years. Their neighbors complained and we complained, yet they refused to correct the problem."

EPA's dramatically reduced penalty is consistent with the agency's National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) penalty policy, which takes into account a defendant's ability to pay a civil penalty.
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