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Iowa cattle producer slapped with heavy fine for water pollution

June 03, 2014
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A district court judge has fined a cattle producer from northwest Iowa $12,000 for improper application of manure on fields, which resulted in the manure flowing into a tributary of a local creek in 2012, the WCF Courier has reported.

The cattle producer, Vernon Van Beek, owns and operates the Lone Tree Feedlot farm, where he raises about 990 cows. Van Beek didn't report the discharges, according to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The transgressions came to light during a routine inspection conducted two years ago. State records show that the farm discharged pollutants in three consecutive years: 2009, 2010 and three times in 2011.

The cattle producer accepted the judgement and agreed to pay the court-ordered fine, settling a lawsuit filed by Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller on behalf of the DNR.

In 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency accused Van Beek and his business partner Jason Dorhaut of discharging pollutants into a tributary of Dry Run Creek, violating the federal Clean Water Act, the Des Moines Register said in its report of the news. The agency ordered them to obtain a permit from the Iowa DNR and finish implementing wastewater controls at the Lone Tree Feedlot facilities. The DNR issued Van Beek a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit in 2012.

Under the Clean Water Act, municipal, industrial and commercial facilities discharging wastewater or storm water straight from a point source into a water pathway are required to secure such a permit as a way of ensuring that federal and state water quality standards are upheld.

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