Nov 30, 2009

Iowa Feedlot Agrees to Pay $25,000 Penalty for Alleged Waste Discharges Into Floyd River

EPA: Feedlot operation violated ‘no-discharge’ state and federal law

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 in Kansas City, Kan.

In May 2008, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (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 such as Schuiteman Feedlot, according to EPA.

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 permit. This includes operations that incorporate indoor and/or outdoor confinement of animals.

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, according to EPA.

The proposed consent agreement with Schuiteman Feedlots is subject to a 40-day public comment period.