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W/T Land and Cattle settles with EPA for water pollution violations

Release Date: 06/21/2013
Contact Information: Mark MacIntyre, EPA/Seattle 206-553-7302/206-369-7999(cell), macintyre.mark@epa.gov

(Boise, Idaho. June 21, 2013) W/T Land & Cattle, Inc., has reached a $42,000 settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for discharging pollutants to the Boise River without a Clean Water Act permit. W/T Land & Cattle is a cattle feedlot located on the banks of the Boise River near Notus, Idaho.

In 2011, EPA received numerous local complaints that the facility was flooded with water from the Boise River. Later, inspection results and other information showed W/T Land & Cattle had been discharging pollution to the Boise River during and after flood events. As flood water receded, the feedlot waste in the water moved through the sandy soil and a permeable berm to reach the river.

According to Edward Kowalski, Director of EPA’s Office of Compliance and Enforcement in Seattle, protecting Idaho’s water quality means paying attention to the different ways pollution can reach rivers and streams.

"Feedlot operators along rivers and streams need to be extra diligent to protect Idaho’s waters,” said Kowalski. “In high water, animal waste can take several paths to nearby waterways. Feedlots discharging pollutants to waters of the United States need a permit.”

This action is particularly important because the lower Boise River does not meet Idaho’s standards for both bacteria and nutrients. Pollution commonly associated with animal waste or manure often includes nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus, bacteria, organic matter and sediments. These pollutants can congest rivers and streams with algae, kill fish by reducing oxygen in the water and transmit waterborne diseases.

A National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit specifies under what conditions a facility can discharge pollutants into a river or stream. The permit minimizes the impact to water quality or people's health. Any medium or large facility that discharges pollutants to waters of the U.S. from its production or land application areas needs to apply for a NPDES Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation General Permit.

For more about the Idaho CAFO General Permit, visit: http://yosemite.epa.gov/R10/WATER.NSF/NPDES+Permits/General+NPDES+Permits