Dairy Allegedly Released Unauthorized Discharge

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued an administrative complaint and proposed a civil penalty of $157,500 to Moo Town Dairy near Sulphur Springs, Texas, for violations of the Clean Water Act, according to a Dec. 30 press release.

The dairy, located about six miles southeast of Sulphur Springs, on the west side of County Road 2321, is a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation. The alleged violation is for an unauthorized discharge of pollutants to an unnamed creek, a tributary of Running Creek, which eventually discharges to Lake Fork Reservoir. The discharges resulted from improper operation and frequent overflow of a manure collection pit, stormwater runoff from an open lot, a carcass disposal area, commodity storage barns, and silage bunkers.

In October 2007, inspectors from EPA and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) conducted an inspection of the facility. The inspection revealed numerous permit violations, including unauthorized discharges of pollutants to waters of the United States.

On Nov. 26, 2007, EPA issued a cease and desist administrative order that required the dairy owner to address the permit violations identified during the October 2007 inspection.

EPA and TCEQ inspectors conducted a follow-up inspection of the facility in June 2008. The inspection revealed that the facility had not addressed many of the violations identified during the previous inspection. The new violations include continued unauthorized discharge of pollutants to waters of the United States due to improper operations and overflow of a manure collection pit.

On June 27, 2008, EPA issued a real-time cease and desist administrative order requiring the facility to immediately stop all unauthorized discharges of pollutants originating from the improperly managed and overflowing manure collection pit. The order also requires that all wastewater from the silage bunkers and commodity storage area drain to storage lagoons and the clean up of all areas where polluted water has pooled, including the facility property and the adjacent property to the west through which the unnamed tributary flows.

Based on these findings, EPA has proposed to assess a civil penalty of $157,500, and orders the owner and operator of the Moo Town Dairy to immediately take action to bring the facility into compliance with the Clean Water Act.