The Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers reports that U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 7 announced early last week that it has issued administrative compliance orders to four concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) in Iowa, as well as three others in Kansas and Nebraska. The Region 7 office is located in Kansas City and has jurisdiction in Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska.

The Iowa farmers were not fined, although the EPA will continue to evaluate the situations to determine if monetary penalties are appropriate. If the producers are not making timely progress in complying with the orders, a fine may be imposed.

Two lots with fewer than 999 cattle, and one with 1,050 head, were all told to cease unauthorized discharges or apply for a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit within 90 days and to construct runoff controls by Sept. 30, 2012. A fourth lot, which has permitted capacity of 5,500 head, was told to stop using yards that had inadequate controls and to ensure the wastewater levels in retention structures were in compliance with their permits.

“EPA works with our state partners and stakeholders to promote producers' legal compliance. Enforcing feedlot permits and requiring producers to get them, where appropriate, will produce cleaner waters and likely require fewer enforcement actions in the future,” said EPA Regional Administrator Karl Brooks.

A beef feedlot in Underwood, IA, has agreed to pay a $20,000 civil penalty for unpermitted discharges of wastewater from the facility into Mosquito Creek. The penalty was part of an administrative consent agreement filed by the EPA Region 7 office. Following a June 2009 inspection, EPA inspectors said the facility lacked adequate controls to prevent the discharge of animal waste into Mosquito Creek and its tributaries. A subsequent inspection in October 2009, collected samples of effluent that showed the facility was discharging pathogens, ammonia and nitrate into an unnamed tributary of the creek.

At the time of EPA’s inspection of Moran Beef, the facility was housing approximately 1,485 cattle in its open lot and confinement barn operations. A Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) with both open lots and confinement barns is subject to regulation under the Clean Water Act as a “Large CAFO” if the entire operation contains more than 1,000 beef cattle.

EPA issued an administrative compliance order to Moran Beef in January 2010, directing it to comply with requirements of the Clean Water Act and end all unauthorized discharges of wastewater from its facility. Following that order, Moran Beef applied for a NPDES permit and has built controls at its facility to prevent unauthorized discharges.

Learn more at the EPA web site.