4 Brothers Dairy Inc. and its owner, Andrew Fitzgerald, pleaded guilty to unlawful discharge of pollutant into a water of the U.S.
4 Brothers Dairy Inc. and its owner, Andrew Fitzgerald, 60, of Shoshone, Idaho, pleaded guilty to unlawful discharge of pollutants into a water of the U.S.
This is a misdemeanor violation of the Clean Water Act, according to U.S. Attorney Bart M. Davis, reported Capital Press.
The discharge took place during heavy flooding in 2017 and according to court records, the dairy has at least 1,000 head of cattle, maintaining wastewater lagoons adjacent to the Milner-Gooding Canal. This canal flows to the Malad River and on to the Snake River.
In February 2017, during the flooding, 4 Bros. and Fitzgerald caused discharges of manure contaminated water into the Milner-Gooding Canal at three locations, reported Capital Press.
As part of the plea agreements, the parties have jointly recommended that 4 Bros. pay a fine of $95,000 and that Fitzgerald pay a fine of $35,000. 4 Bros. has also agreed to submit a notice of intent to seek coverage under the U.S. EPAs CAFO National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit program for Idaho.
The Idaho State Department of Agriculture issued a $70,000 penalty to the dairy for seven unauthorized releases of wastewater off the property and into the canal in April 2017 as a result.
According to Fitzgerald in April 2017, the dairy is designed to contain all the wastewater from the facility in lagoons, but an unprecedented amount of snowmelt from neighboring fields overwhelmed the dairy’s containment capacity, reported the Capital Press.
Sentencing for the dairy and Fitzgerald has been set for Jan. 14 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy W. Dale.