The Idaho State Department of Agriculture is still early in the enforcement process of wastewater issues related to winter weather and flooding.
Three more southern Idaho dairies have been issued state notices of violations following unprecedented heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures followed by warm weather and rain that caused flooding.
The Idaho State Department of Agriculture has given Capital Press notices of violations it recently sent to dairymen.
Eagle Ridge Dairy of Kuna faces a penalty of $10,000 for the Feb. 6 unauthorized release of wastewater off the property into a culvert and eventually into a neighboring field, due to a failure to properly maintain its environmental management system.
ISDA’s investigation report states runoff from the dairy was the result of a breach in one of the dairy’s compost yard containments receiving run-on from surrounding fields.
It also states the dairy didn’t divert or pump the water into its lagoons to mitigate the impact of the run-on.
Veenstra Dairy of Hagerman faces a $10,000 penalty for an unauthorized release on Feb. 13, stemming from a break in an earthen lagoon that caused wastewater to flow off the property and into fields and irrigation ditches and continue into West Canal and Tupper Springs.
The runoff was further contaminated by waste the dairy had applied to one of its fields but hadn’t incorporated into the soil. The runoff flowed into an irrigation retention pond on the property, but excessive erosion around tree roots created a large hole in the bank of the pond that allowed effluent to flow off the property.
Sousa Dairy of Buhl is facing a $4,000 penalty for an unauthorized release on Dec. 10 for wastewater flowing off the property, into a culvert and onto neighboring fields. The investigation report doesn’t state an event contributing to the release.
Capital Press last week reported that ISDA issued a $70,000 civil penalty to 4 Bros. Dairy of Shoshone for seven unauthorized releases of wastewater off the property and into the Milner Gooding Canal from Feb 20 to Feb. 23.
ISDA’s investigation report states the owners reported the discharges and said the dairy’s containment was overwhelmed with run-on from neighboring fields after protection berms were breached.
Every operation has had different circumstances and a different strategy to mitigate winter-weather and flood situations, and ISDA evaluates each on a case-by-case basis, said Chanel Tewalt, ISDA chief of operations/communications.
“While the ISDA has completed several recent investigations, it is still early in the enforcement process on many of these cases,” she said.
Many of the open investigations were precipitated by winter weather, but ISDA also conducts annual investigations on all confined animal feeding operations and investigates complaints, she said.