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Eight Beef Feedlots in Northwest Iowa Face Enforcement Actions as EPA Emphasizes Compliance with Clean Water Act

Release Date: 08/12/2010
Contact Information: Chris Whitley, 913-551-7394, whitley.christopher@epa.gov


Environmental News


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(Kansas City, Kan., August 12, 2010) - EPA Region 7 has taken a series of civil enforcement actions against eight beef feedlot operations in northwest Iowa for violations of the Clean Water Act, as part of a continuing enforcement emphasis aimed at ending harmful discharges of pollutants from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) into the region’s rivers and streams.

“EPA has two important jobs: enforcing the Clean Water Act and educating about the benefits of cleaner water,” EPA Regional Administrator Karl Brooks said. “Responsible livestock producers understand and work with the agency to advance both goals.”

“Clean Water Act permits, which are a crucial tool to maintain water quality, create legal duties to better protect this nation's waters,” Brooks noted. “EPA works with our state partners to promote producers' legal compliance. Enforcing and promoting feedlot permits will produce cleaner waters and likely require fewer enforcement actions in the future.”

All eight of the most recent enforcement actions involve administrative compliance orders issued to medium-sized CAFOs, which are feedlots that confine between 300 and 999 cattle and whose discharge is facilitated by a man-made conveyance.

EPA has documented significant water quality problems associated with medium CAFOs and is making compliance at these operations a priority. Runoff from CAFOs may contain such pollutants as pathogens and sediment, as well as nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous, all of which can harm aquatic life and impact water quality.

All but two of the eight CAFOs listed below (excluding Tracy Onken Feedlot and Lone Tree Feedlot) discharge runoff into waters that have been officially identified by the State of Iowa as being impaired by pollutants typically associated with animal feeding operations:

Todd Bartman, doing business as Bartman Farms, of Rock Valley, Iowa, must apply for a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit and complete wastewater controls at his facilities by October 31, 2011, to end unauthorized discharges of pollutants into a tributary of the Rock River in Sioux County, Iowa.

Randy Kats, doing business as Randy Kats Feedlot, of Rock Valley, Iowa, must apply for an NPDES permit and complete wastewater controls at his facilities by October 31, 2011, to end unauthorized discharges of pollutants into a tributary of the Rock River in Sioux County, Iowa.

Tracy Onken, doing business as Tracy Onken Feedlot, of Carroll, Iowa, must apply for an NPDES permit and complete wastewater controls at his facilities by October 31, 2011, to end unauthorized discharges of pollutants into a tributary of Storm Creek in Carroll County, Iowa.

SFI, Inc., of Nemaha, Iowa, must apply for an NPDES permit and complete wastewater controls at its facilities by October 31, 2011, to end unauthorized discharges of pollutants into the Raccoon River in Sac County, Iowa.

Vernon Van Beek and Jason Dorhaut, doing business as Lone Tree Feedlot, of Inwood, Iowa, must apply for an NPDES permit and complete wastewater controls at their facilities by October 31, 2011, to end unauthorized discharges of pollutants into a tributary of Dry Run Creek in Lyon County, Iowa.

Terry Van Wyhe, doing business as Van Wyhe Feedlot, of Ireton, Iowa, must apply for an NPDES permit and complete wastewater controls at his facilities by October 31, 2011, to end unauthorized discharges of pollutants into a tributary of Six Mile Creek in Sioux County, Iowa.

Nathan Vohs, doing business as Nathan Vohs Feedlot, of Washta, Iowa, must apply for an NPDES permit and complete wastewater controls at his facilities by October 31, 2011, to end unauthorized discharges of pollutants into a tributary of Four Mile Creek in Cherokee County, Iowa.

Keith Zylstra, doing business as Zylstra Feedlot, of Ashton, Iowa, must apply for an NPDES permit and complete wastewater controls at his facilities by October 31, 2011, to end unauthorized discharges of pollutants into a tributary of Otter Creek in Osceola County, Iowa.

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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