Jump to main content.

Clean Water Act Homepage  |  CWA Enforcement Cases  | CWA Archive

Clean Water Act (CWA): Agriculture-Related Enforcement Cases Archive for 2009

The following are agriculture-related enforcement cases pertaining to the Clean Water Act.  More Clean Water Act enforcement cases can be found under the Animal Feeding Operations enforcement cases.

The following links are provided for navigation to CWA enforcement cases below by date for 2009:

CWA Enforcement Cases for 2009

November 17, 2009

Feedlot in Sioux County, Iowa Agrees To Pay $25,000 Penalty for Alleged Waste Discharges into West Branch of Floyd River
A Sioux County, Iowa cattle feedlot operation has agreed to pay a $25,000 civil penalty to settle allegations that it violated the federal Clean Water Act by allowing manure and wastewater to discharge into the West Branch of the Floyd River. Joel Schuiteman, doing business as Schuiteman Feedlots, is the named respondent in the proposed consent agreement and final order placed on public notice today in Kansas City, Kan.

In May 2008, EPA inspected Schuiteman's operation and documented that it was confining approximately 3,400 cattle in confinement barns and approximately 1,200 cattle in open feedlots. EPA also documented that Schuiteman's operation was discharging manure and wastewater into the West Branch of the Floyd River. The West Branch of the Floyd River has been on Iowa's list of impaired waters because of low biological diversity and past fish kills. Both of these impacts have been linked to runoff of wastes from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) such as Schuiteman's feedlot.

Under state and federal law, any animal feeding operation that confines 1,000 or more cattle must operate as a "no-discharge" facility, unless it has an approved National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. This includes operations that incorporate indoor and/or outdoor confinement of animals. Schuiteman did not have an NPDES permit, nor was he able to prevent unauthorized discharges from his outdoor pens.On September 9, 2008, EPA ordered Schuiteman to cease the outdoor confinement of cattle at the feedlot unless he could prevent all discharges of animal waste and wastewater from that portion of his feedlot. He no longer confines cattle outside.

Feedlot runoff typically contains such pollutants as organic matter, sediments, pathogens, heavy metals, hormones, antibiotics, ammonia, as well as nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorous, all of which can harm aquatic life and impact water quality. The proposed consent agreement with Schuiteman Feedlots is subject to a 40-day public comment period.

Top of Page

October 23, 2009

EPA Cites Unlawful Filling of Wetlands at Wicomoco County, Md. Site
EPA has cited a Millersville, Md. couple and a Millsboro, Del. chicken processing company for unlawfully filling protected wetlands, a violation of the Clean Water Act. EPA cited Andrew and Yvette Hudyma and Mountaire Farms of Delaware for filling in a non-tidal wetland on a property located on the west side of Green Lewis Road, one-half mile from the intersection with New Hope Road, northeast of the town of Willards, Wicomoco County, Md. The site contains an unnamed ditch which flows to the Murray Branch, which flows to the Burnt Mill Branch, which flows to the Pocomoke River, which flows to the Chesapeake Bay.

According to the complaint, the Hudymas wanted to raise chickens on the site and relied on advice from Mountaire Farms that there were no wetlands on the site. During construction of chicken houses in June 2006, an inspector with the Maryland Department of the Environment noted that non-tidal wetlands were located on the property. Under the Clean Water Act, an Army Corps of Engineers permit is required before dredged or fill material may be discharged into wetlands areas. The permit requirement is designed to minimize the destruction of wetlands, which serve a number of critical environmental and economic functions -- including flood control, water filtration, wildlife habitat, and recreation.

According to EPA, the activities of the Hudymas and Mountaire Farms included the filling of approximately 3.64 acres of forested, non-tidal wetlands for the construction of chicken houses. EPA seeks an $82,500 penalty for this alleged violation. The Hudymas and Mountaire Farms may request a hearing to contest the alleged violation and proposed penalty.

Top of Page

August 21, 2009

Tyson Fresh Meats To Pay More than $2 Million for Discharges at Meat Packing Plant
Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc., the world’s largest supplier of premium beef and pork, has agreed to pay a $2,026,500 civil penalty to settle allegations that it violated terms of a 2002 consent decree and a federally-issued pollution discharge permit at its meat processing facility in Dakota City, Neb., the Justice Department and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced.

In April 2002, Tyson Fresh Meats, known as IBP Inc., until May 2003, entered into a consent decree with the federal government and the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality to bring wastewater discharges at its facility into compliance with state and federal law. Tyson discharges an average of five million gallons of treated effluent from its Dakota City facility into the Missouri River each day. The 2002 consent decree required IBP to complete a supplemental environmental project, specifically a $2.9 million nitrification system that was intended to reduce the amount of ammonia in its wastewater discharges to the Missouri River. The 2002 consent decree also provided that once the installation of the nitrification system was complete, the United States would begin to enforce certain limits of a new National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit relating to toxicity and ammonia levels in the facilities treated wastewater discharge.

According to a filing made yesterday in U.S. District Court in Omaha, the government alleges that from July 2003 through March 2004, Tyson failed to properly operate the nitrification system as required by the 2002 consent decree, and as a result, had numerous discharges of fecal coliform and nitrites in violation of its 2002 NPDES permit. Specifically, nitrites in the discharge caused high levels of toxicity to aquatic life in the Missouri River.

"This penalty serves as an example that we take violations of these agreements seriously and we will take appropriate steps to insure that their provisions are followed," said John C. Cruden, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.

"We expect companies to live up to their settlement obligations, and when they don't, they can expect that EPA will take action to assure compliance," said William Rice, Acting Regional Administrator for EPA’s Region 7.

Top of Page

July 14, 2009

EPA Orders Two Oklahoma Companies To Stop Discharging
EPA has issued a cease and desist administrative order to Murphy Products Inc. and the Oklahoma National Stock Yards Company, both of Oklahoma City, for violations of the federal Clean Water Act. The order specifically addresses a compost facility which is operated by Murphy Products on property owned by the National Stock Yards. The facility is located southeast of the intersection of I-40 and I-44 in Oklahoma City and includes a composting system which incorporates animal manure from the stock yards. On June 22 and 23, 2009, inspectors from EPA and the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry (ODAFF), observed the potential for unauthorized discharges from the compost facility directly into the Oklahoma River.

“EPA will continue to vigorously enforce our nation’s environmental laws through effective compliance assistance and a strong enforcement program,” said EPA Region 6 Compliance Assurance and Enforcement Division Director John Blevins. “Environmental responsibility is everyone’s responsibility.”

“On July 1, 2009, ODAFF issued an Emergency Cease and Desist Order to Murphy Products to stop all conditions which may lead to a discharge of pollutants to the waters of the State, including the Oklahoma River. ODAFF is pleased to work with EPA in joint enforcement actions such as this to stop potential pollution from agricultural sources in Oklahoma,” said Terry Peach, Oklahoma’s Secretary and Commissioner of Agriculture.

Based on these findings, Murphy Products, Inc. and the Oklahoma National Stock Yards Company have been ordered to cease all discharges of pollutants from the compost system, and within 30 days submit to EPA and ODAFF a plan and schedule of actions that will ensure that all run-off from the compost facility does not discharge to the Oklahoma River.

Top of Page

July 13, 2009

EPA Orders Mike McClure Farms To Stop Discharge of Poultry Litter
EPA has issued an administrative order to Mike McClure Farms in Hopkins County, Texas, for violating the federal Clean Water Act. The facility is a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) and falls under the regulatory authority of the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board.

Mike McClure Farms is a poultry broiler facility located approximately 18 miles east of Sulphur Springs, situated on the north side of County Road 3310, in Hopkins County. On May 19 and 29, and June 12, 2009, EPA inspectors observed an unauthorized discharge of chicken litter from the farm's poultry litter staging area. The unauthorized discharge of pollutants was observed at the eastern end of the northern poultry house which is used for staging litter that is removed from the barns during cleanout. The staging area drains northwest approximately 340 yards to a wetland that is directly connected to Stouts Creek.

Based on these findings and within 45 days, Mike McClure Farms has been ordered to submit to EPA a schedule for construction of a covered shed under which to stage and store poultry litter and prevent future unauthorized discharges of pollutants to Stouts Creek.

Top of Page

June 9, 2009

EPA Orders Allrounder Dairies To Stop Discharging
EPA has issued cease and desist administrative orders to the Allrounder I and II Dairies in Hopkins County, Texas, for violations of the federal Clean Water Act.

On May 19, 2009, an EPA inspection of the Allrounder I Dairy, located about 18 miles east of Sulphur Springs and on the south side of County Road 3310, found solid manure build-up accumulating on the surface suggesting its manure lagoon lacks adequate capacity for the number of animals currently allowed by their permit. The inspection also revealed the mortality management area was improperly located, operated and maintained. The area is located in a wetland area and drains to Stouts Creek. Numerous carcasses were observed floating, uncovered and partially exposed and in various stages of decomposition.

On May 18 and 19, 2009, an EPA inspection of the Allrounder II Dairy, located about 19 miles east of Sulphur Springs and southwest of the intersection of County Roads 3378 and 3385, found discharges of manure and contaminated water in several locations along the west berm of the facility’s lagoon and into a tributary of Stouts Creek. The inspection also revealed the mortality management area was improperly located, operated and maintained similar to conditions observed at the Allrounder I Dairy.

Silage piles at the dairies are located outside designated drainage areas of the lagoons and are considered feedstock material. Runoff from the piles is required to be collected in the lagoons but was observed discharging to Stouts Creek.

Based on these findings, the dairies have been ordered to cease all discharges of pollutants, and within 30 days remove stockpiled manure from drainage areas and land apply or relocate the piles to an area that will ensure runoff is captured in an approved lagoon.

The dairies have also been ordered to excavate and relocate their mortality management areas to an approved location that is not in a wetland and does not discharge to a wetland or waterway, and provide to EPA and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) current certification of no hydrologic connection for the lagoons.

Within 90 days, the dairies must provide to EPA and TCEQ a plan and schedule of actions that will ensure all runoff from the production areas drain to an approved lagoon and ensure than all runon and runoff from silage storage piles are collected and stored in an approved lagoon.

The dairies have been given 120 days to submit to EPA and TCEQ a certified summary of all completed items and photographs to document completed work.

Top of Page

June 8, 2009

Court Grants EPA 2-Year Stay in National Cotton Council et al v. EPA
The Sixth Circuit of Appeals ruled that residuals of chemical pesticides and biological pesticides are pollutants regulated under the Clean Water Act and has recently stayed the effective date of its decision until April 9, 2011. As a result of the ruling, anyone who applies a pesticide in, over, or near waters of the United States will need to be covered by a permit issued under the Clean Water Act after this effective date. Irrigation return flows and agricultural runoff will not require Clean Water Act permits as they are specifically exempted from the Clean Water Act. EPA plans, before the ruling takes effect, to issue general permits under the Clean Water Act for covered pesticide applications, to assist authorized states to develop their permits, and to provide outreach and education to the regulated community. EPA will work closely with state water permitting programs, the regulated community and environmental organizations in developing general permits that are protective of the environment and public health.

Top of Page

April 1, 2009

EPA Issues CWA Violation Notice to a Northern California Farm
EPA has issued a violation notice and compliance order to Patrick Ricchiuti, president of P.R. Farms, following the discovery of the grower's illegal expansion into the Fresno River. Ricchiuti bypassed flood control levees, illegally filling an area approximately 2,300 feet long and 45-250 feet wide and encroaching more than seven acres into the Fresno River.

EPA has ordered Ricchiuti to immediately remove all unauthorized fill material and restore the levee in accordance with the specifications of the Fresno River flood control project.

"This action will protect the Fresno River from illegal encroachments," said Alexis Strauss, Water Division director for the EPA's Pacific Southwest region. "We shall oversee restoration of the site and ensure compliance with the Clean Water Act."

Ricchiuti owns assessor's parcel numbers 033-160-001 and 033-160-002, near Avenue 16 and Road 21 in Madera County, California. The Fresno River forms the southern boundary of the property and is an integral part of a flood control project overseen by multiple federal, state, and local authorities.

EPA, along with state and county inspectors, inspected the site after receiving information that the property owner had filled in the bed and bank of the Fresno River. During their investigation, inspectors observed that earthen material had been placed within the Fresno River to create a new levee and fill area along the northern bank of the River, and that an asphalt road and an orchard had been placed on top of the fill area.

Ricchiuti placed dredged and fill material into the Fresno River without a Clean Water Act section 404 permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The permit program, which is co-administered by the Corps and EPA, regulates the filling of federally-protected waterways and wetlands to ensure that proposed projects would cause the least environmental harm and be protective of the public. Unauthorized encroachments such as Ricchiuti's can exacerbate flooding potential and damage important flood control infrastructure. Persons who fill federally protected waterways and wetlands without the requisite Clean Water Act permit could face a daily penalty of up to $37,500.

The Fresno River, which is approximately 68 miles long, is a major tributary of the San Joaquin River. Flows in the reach of the Fresno River along the property are regulated by releases from Hidden Dam and augmented by storm events between October and March and periodic agricultural return flow. The Fresno River flows either directly or via the Chowchilla Canal Bypass to the San Joaquin River, which flows to the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and then San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean.

Top of Page

March 25, 2009

EPA Orders Restoration of Slick Creek in Worland, Wyoming
EPA has issued a compliance order to David Hamilton for violations of the Clean Water Act in Worland, Wyo. Hamilton allegedly violated the Act by discharging material into Slick Creek and its adjacent wetlands without a permit. Slick Creek and its wetlands are tributaries to the Bighorn River.

"Mr. Hamilton's actions disturbed Slick Creek and its adjacent wetlands' ability to provide wildlife habitat for birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians; enhance the quality of an already impaired water body; and reduce the force of flood waters," said Diane Sipe, Director of EPA Region 8's Water Enforcement Program. "EPA's water enforcement program is working to restore the damage caused to the Creek and its wetlands and will continue to pursue enforcement action against those who violate laws that protect our national waters."

In the fall of 2005, Mr. Hamilton or persons acting on his behalf rerouted and channelized approximately 4,100 feet of Slick Creek, discharged material into its adjacent wetlands, and filled the original channel without first obtaining a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is required by the Clean Water Act.

EPA order requires Mr. Hamilton to restore the impacted areas to pre-impact conditions and grade. Prior to doing the work, Mr. Hamilton must submit for EPA's approval a plan that details how the restoration will be accomplished. Failure to respond to EPA orders subjects individuals to additional enforcement.

Top of Page

February 27, 2009

Bayer Crop Science To Pay Penalty for Environmental Violations
Bayer CropScience will pay a $112,500 penalty and spend more than $900,000 for environmental projects to settle a wide range of environmental violations at its chemical plant in Institute, West Virginia, EPA announced today.

The violations stem from a series of EPA inspections in 2001, when the facility was owned by Aventis CropScience USA. The violations are unrelated to the explosion and fire at the facility last August.

EPA inspectors identified violations of five different environmental laws designed to limit air and water pollution and protect the public from hazardous chemical leaks and spills. These violations included 35 instances between 1999 and 2001 when chemicals discharged through water violated permitted limits. The company also failed to properly monitor water discharges and failed to update equipment in accordance with best management practices.

Other violations included: not properly labeling chemical storage containers; not properly disposing of wastewater sludge; not maintaining records associated with the use of oil; and not properly following the plant's own waste analysis plan. The facility was also cited for not properly notifying the National Response Center as soon as it had knowledge of the release of carbosulfan on Feb. 5, 2001.

Environmental improvement projects under the settlement require Bayer CropScience to donate equipment and funding to the Kanawha Valley Emergency Preparedness Center and three local fire departments to support training and emergency response. The agreement also requires Bayer CropScience to upgrade its wastewater treatment facilities to improve monitoring and reduce pollution discharges. As part of the settlement, Bayer CropScience neither admits or denies the allegations.

Top of Page

February 10, 2009

EPA Issues Administrative Orders to Arkansas Egg Company
EPA has issued administrative orders to three Arkansas Egg Co. facilities in Arkansas for violations of the Clean Water Act.

The facilities, Blair Farm in Benton County, and Summers Farm and Appleton Farm, both in Washington County, were found to be out of compliance with their Clean Water Act discharge permits.

In February 2008, EPA and Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) inspectors observed that all three facilities had used chicken litter in amounts exceeding those designated in their waste management plans. The facilities had also failed to operate their liquid animal waste collection and containment systems properly. Summers and Blair Farms were also cited for failure to dispose of dead animals appropriately and maintain their carcass incinerators. Additionally, the Appleton Farm had failed to maintain the required 35 feet setback distance from streams at waste application sites.

Other violations noted included failure to maintain proper levels in waste collection systems, failure to maintain records indicating locations of fields where animal waste has been applied, and failure to properly dispose of liquid and solid animal wastes.

Based on these findings, EPA has ordered Arkansas Egg Co. to immediately remove all animal carcasses, begin utilizing proper carcass incineration and liquid waste procedures, properly remove non-contained liquid manure, and initiate application of liquid and solid wastes to land application as required by their discharge permits and waste management plans.

Arkansas Egg Co. has also been ordered to provide maps of all owned or leased liquid animal waste or solid waste application fields showing field locations, soil sample analyses for the last five years, cropping schemes, copies of calculations used for waste application, applications records, and liquid and solid manure sample analysis.

Top of Page

January 26, 2009

Oregon CAFO Owner Agrees To Pay Penalty To Settle Clean Water Act Violations
John Bezates has agreed to pay an $8,000 penalty to settle Clean Water Act discharge violations at his Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the violations occurred at Bezates Feedlot located in Ontario, Oregon.

During an inspection of Bezates Feedlot operations in January 2008, EPA and Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) inspectors documented animal wastes flowing from confinement pens into Jacobsen Gulch Creek, a tributary to the Snake River. This discharge violated a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit issued to Bezates by the State of Oregon. This was Mr. Bezates' first known violation of the CWA, and he has since corrected the discharge problem with the help of ODA.

According to Lauris Davies, EPA acting Director, Office of Compliance and Enforcement in Seattle, this inspection was a part of a nationwide effort to put in effect a national priority focus on Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, particularly those discharging wastewater into impaired waterbodies. In Oregon, ODA has been instrumental in this effort and has shouldered the bulk of the follow-up efforts to ensure compliance.

"When Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations fail to take proper precautions, including obtaining necessary wastewater discharge permits, their manure laden runoff can pollute our creeks, rivers and streams," said EPA's Davies.

Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations continue to be a leading source of water quality impairment in the U.S. Consolidation trends in the livestock industry have resulted in larger-sized operations that generate about 500 million tons of manure annually.

Top of Page

January 8, 2009

Agricultural Producer Agrees To Pay U.S. EPA Fine and Plans To Restore Damaged Creek
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has signed an agreement with Muranaka Farms, Inc., requiring the Moorpark, Calif., firm to pay a fine of $75,000 for discharging dredged or fill materials into the Calleguas Creek without a Clean Water Act permit.

"This agreement, together with successful restoration of the damaged site, will allow Muranaka Farms, Inc. to come into compliance with the Clean Water Act," said Alexis Strauss, director of the EPA's Water Division for the Pacific Southwest. "We at EPA will continue to focus on restoration of Calleguas Creek and protection of our coastal environment."

Between February and September 2005, Muranaka Farms, Inc. constructed a berm and agricultural field within and adjacent to Calleguas Creek at a farm located at 11018 E. Los Angeles Ave. in Moorpark. The Clean Water Act prohibits the placement of dredged or fill materials into rivers, tributary streams and other waters of the United States without a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

EPA issued an administrative order on November 7, 2007, requiring Muranaka Farms, Inc. to restore the area that it cleared and graded, which resulted in the unauthorized discharges into Calleguas Creek in Ventura County, California. To date, Muranaka Farms, Inc. has complied with the order and has submitted a plan to restore nearly 18 acres in Calleguas Creek to be implemented later this year.

Top of Page

January 7, 2009

2006 Final Rule on Aquatic Pesticides Vacated
On January 19, 2006, EPA received petitions for review of the Aquatic Pesticides rule from both environmental and industry groups. The case was assigned to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. On January 7, 2009 the court held in National Cotton Council, et al, v. EPA, that the final rule was not a reasonable interpretation of the CWA and vacated the rule.

The court's decision, which applies nationally, is effective when the mandate takes effect. The mandate takes effect seven days after the deadline for rehearing expires or seven days after a denial of any petition for rehearing. Parties have until April 9, 2009 to seek rehearing. The Agency, working with DOJ, is reviewing the opinion and considering next steps. Pending the effective date of the court's decision, the final aquatic pesticides rule remains in effect and permits are not required for the application of pesticide products in accordance with the product's Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) label.

While EPA is evaluating the complete implications of the Court's decision, it is clear that once the mandate takes effect, NPDES permits will be required for pesticides applied directly to water to control pests and/or applied to control pests that are present in, over or near waters. Irrigation return flows and agricultural runoff will not require NPDES permits as they are specifically exempted from the CWA.

EPA recognizes that spring planting season is just around the corner and the Agency is committed to finding interim and long-term approaches that are both realistic and protective of the environment and public health. Twenty-three states have pesticide permitting programs and the Agency is evaluating these programs for possible national application.

Top of Page

December 30, 2009

EPA Issues Administrative Complaint to Moo Town Dairy
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 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.
The dairy, located about six miles southeast of Sulphur Springs, on the west side of County Road 2321, is a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO). The violation alleged 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, storm water runoff from an open lot, a carcass disposal area, commodity storage barns, and silage bunkers.
"EPA will continue to vigorously enforce our nation's environmental laws through a strong enforcement program," said EPA Regional Administrator Richard E. Greene. "When these facilities fail to follow the rules, immediate actions will be taken to ensure compliance with the law."
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 November 26, 2007, EPA issued a cease and desist administrative order which 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 in October 2007. 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.

Top of Page


This page is sponsored by EPA's Ag Center. Ag Center logo

Local Navigation

Jump to main content.