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EPA action protects Big Windsor Reservoir from feedlot waste

Release Date: 04/15/2013
Contact Information: Contacts: Seth Draper, 303-312-6763; Peggy Livingston, 303-312-6858

EPA action protects Big Windsor Reservoir from feedlot waste

Cactus Hill Ranch agrees to pay $16,000 Clean Water Act penalty for discharges at sheep feedlot

Contacts: Seth Draper, 303-312-6763; Peggy Livingston, 303-312-6858

(Denver, Colo. – April 15, 2013) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has reached an agreement with the Cactus Hill Ranch Company (Cactus Hill) in which the company will pay $16,000 penalty to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Water Act at its sheep feedlot in Weld County, Colorado, near the Big Windsor Reservoir.

According to the agreement, EPA alleges that Cactus Hill discharged wastewater in violation of the concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) regulations under the Clean Water Act. These violations include the discharge of waste without a permit and inadequate waste containment.

"Feedlots that operate close to major water resources have a responsibility to ensure that animal and process wastes are managed appropriately,” said Mike Gaydosh, EPA’s enforcement director in Denver. “When EPA discovers these types of violations, we will act to protect our limited water resources.”

Cactus Hill’s feedlot can house up to 150,000 sheep and is located one-half mile north of the Big Windsor Reservoir. During inspections conducted in 2010, EPA inspectors observed that the feedlot was discharging process wastewater to a roadside ditch which connects to the Larimer and Weld canal. The reservoir receives Larimer and Weld irrigation water and is used for fishing, swimming, boating, and camping. These wastewater discharges contain bedding, manure, bacteria, and other pollutants that can adversely affect water quality and public health.

As a result of a previous EPA order to cease the discharge of pollutants and a penalty complaint, Cactus Hill applied for a state CAFO permit and put structures in place to control wastewater. The penalty agreement was filed on April 4, 2013.

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