Restitution Order Puts Focus On CAFO Compliance

Livestock Farm Faces Penalties After Manure Spill Contamination
Wisconsin Ag Connection – 09/23/2011

A concentrated animal feeding operation in Kewaunee County has been ordered to pay over $55,000 in fees and restitution for violating Wisconsin’s environmental protection laws. According to the state justice department, a manure spill in April 2009 at Stahl Brothers Dairy, LLC near Luxemburg reached the nearby Kewaunee River and spread for 13 miles.

According to the complaint, at least 100,000 gallons of manure was discharged through a tile line in the sidewall of the dairy’s manure storage pit and into the river. The spill adversely affected the waters and required emergency response action to clean up.

Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen says Stahl Brothers operates under a Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit, which requires all manure storage facilities be operated and maintained to prevent discharges to navigable waters. State law also requires that those who possess or control a hazardous substance such as manure, which is discharged, to reimburse the Department of Natural Resources for actual and necessary expenses incurred in taking corrective action in response to the discharge.

“The settlement of this case provides assurance to the public that large livestock operations will take the steps necessary to ensure compliance with Wisconsin permit requirements that are designed to protect state water resources,” Van Hollen said. “The Wisconsin Department of Justice will continue to work with the DNR to ensure Wisconsin’s citizens and natural resources are protected through compliance.”

The order requires that Stahl Brothers pay over $15,000 in forfeitures, assessments, costs and fees, as well as $24,500 in reimbursement for the DNR’s response costs. The farm also faces an additional $15,000 in restitution.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Restitution Order Puts Focus On CAFO Compliance

  1. Tim

    With all this going on in Kewaunee Co. Can’t help but wonder when the man on the street will awaken and speak up.
    I certainly hope people keep this in mind when they vote locally, statewide and federal. Our health, property values, and livelihood depend on it.

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  2. concerned Neighbor

    The tragedy that happened at the Stahl farm is just that. We are so concerned today about manure spills that we fail to acknoldege that Kewaunee county has an excellent track record when it comes to manure spills. Quick response from both the DNR and Stahl farms turned what could be a major spill into a containable still. Living only 1 mile from Stahl farms I can assure you that what happens was indeed a tearble accident. In the past 20 years in the ag industry we moved from daily manure haul envirment (even in winter) which was a breading ground fore multiple manure spills every winter to limiting manure application times to “Non Frozen Ground” according 590 NMP Standard). Because of this all farms are required to have some type of manure storage and the most common is earthen Lagoon. With an excellent track recored its not to often that an accident ocures with these structures. However with several going in every year in Kewaunee County it was only a matter of time before one of these are placed near a drange tile. Nobody knew the tile was there and the lagoon operated for several years with out a problem. I applaud the DNR and Stahl farms fore such a quick response because a 4″ tile with an unbelevable amount of head presure could have made a much larger inpact on the environment then what it did.

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    • Pete

      The above referenced manure spill is a powerful statement showing the
      unsustainable nature of factory farms. This type of so called “agriculture” using factory style mentality flies in the face of nature’s natural systems.
      Factories work well making cars, tanks, planes, tractors, herbicides, pesticides and so on, but is a terrible force when working with the intricate and delicate symbiotic balances found in soil, water, air and all living creatures.

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      • concerned Neighbor

        The reality is this in a given year more non point polution originates from small farms and urban areas then what you call “factory farms”. Your name implies that we are making something. One can take that two different ways. One being that that individual farmer dies not care like in a factor environment whenfact that is a great insult to him and an attack on his person saying he does not care. I am sure he care just as much as you do if not more! Or one could take that as he us creating something of value. If that is the case what us the value in food. You strip mine the environment to make a case and fill it with non recyclable components and mercury to make a computer. Just do you can turn it on and burn even more coal to talk about something you really have no idea about. A great friend of mine working at UWEX will tell you time after time tgat a small farm is more likely to be “relaxed” on the Nutrent Managment Plan then a “factory farm”

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