Agency Orders Two Texas Feeding Operations to Stop Discharges

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued a cease and desist administrative orders to Ray Hoffman, Jr. Dairy in Windthorst, Texas, and to Mark Allen and Vernon Feeders in Vernon, Texas, for violations of the federal Clean Water Act, according to an Aug. 8 press release.

The dairy, an unpermitted Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO), is located about five miles west of Windthorst, in Archer County, Texas. The facility has been ordered to immediately stop all discharges of pollutants from its lagoon to waters of the United States. The dairy has been given 45 days to provide to EPA documentation that the facility has adequate lagoon capacity to contain all waste and process-generated wastewater plus stormwater runoff during a 25-year, 24-hour storm event. The facility has also been given 45 days to develop and implement a pollution prevention plan that will include procedures for the proper utilization of nutrients generated by the dairy, proper disposal of dead animals, and the proper maintenance of records, especially records documenting wastewater levels in the lagoon to minimize lagoon overflows.

In April 2008, EPA inspected the facility and determined that it did not have CAFO permit coverage. The inspection also revealed an unauthorized discharge from the dairy that entered an unnamed creek that traveled about one mile before entering Little Onion Creek. Little Onion Creek feeds Onion Creek, which discharges into the Little Wichita River. The Little Wichita River discharges into Lake Arrowhead.

The cattle feeding operation, a non-permitted CAFO, is in Wilbarger County, Texas. The facility has been ordered to immediately stop all discharges of pollutants in stormwater runoff from its animal confinement areas to Paradise Creek. The cattle feeding operation also has been given 45 days to provide to EPA documentation that it has adequate capacity to contain all waste and process-generated wastewater plus stormwater generated during a 25-year, 24-hour storm event as well as 45 days to develop and implement a pollution prevention plan that includes procedures specifically designed to minimize the discharge of pollutants from its animal confinement areas.

In June 2008, EPA conducted an unannounced inspection of the facility. The inspection revealed that this facility is not properly designed, constructed, and operated to contain all waste and process-generated wastewater plus stormwater runoff. The inspection also revealed an unauthorized discharge to Paradise Creek, a tributary of the Pease River. Paradise Creek flows to Pease River, which eventually discharges to the Red River.

Both the dairy and cattle feeding operation owners and operators have been ordered to immediately take action to bring their facilities into compliance with the Clean Water Act.

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