A lawsuit alleging a history of manure spills at a hog operation located near Keosauaqua in southeast Iowa has been filed against one of the largest family-owned pork farming networks in the United States.

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement has joined forces with the Environmental Integrity Project and the Humane Society of the United States in filing suit against The Maschhoffs, headquartered in Caryle, IL.

At issue is an alleged manure spill of thousands of gallons into a creek near the Des Moines River. The suit indicates the farm houses nearly 7,500 sows producing about 11 million gallons of manure a year. The manure is retained in a lagoon and spread onto about 600 acres of adjoining farmland.

In response, The Maschhoffs issued the following statement:

“The Maschhoffs is in full compliance with the state of Iowa’s environmental protection laws.

“We believe this notice of potential legal action from the Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement and the Humane Society of the United States is frivolous and totally without merit.

“Contrary to the notice’s inaccurate claims, The Maschhoffs has an excellent track record of taking swift action to protect the local environment.

“For example, in the Van Buren County incident, The Maschhoffs personnel discovered the broken pipe during regular monitoring activities at 7:30 a.m. on Nov. 4 and immediately implemented The Maschhoffs’ established environmental protocols and practices and contained the spill by 9:30 a.m. The spill did not reach any standing water of any kind. The creek referenced in the notice is actually a dry drainage ditch that only contains water during heavy rainy periods.

“Our cleanup operation, which was in full compliance with Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) rules and regulations, was successfully completed by Nov. 14.

“Furthermore, the 2007 incident referred to in the notice happened before The Maschhoffs took over operation of that facility. In July 2008, when we took over operations, we converted to direct injection technology for land application.

“At The Maschhoffs, we design our operations to be non-discharging to eliminate environmental impact through continuous improvement.”