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Meadowvale Dairy Clean Water Act Settlement

(Washington, DC – January 19, 2017) –  Meadowvale Dairy, LLC, has agreed to pay a civil penalty and take actions to prevent illegal discharges to Iowa streams in compliance with the Clean Water Act, officials of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Justice announced today. Meadowvale Dairy operates multiple concentrated animal feeding operations in Rock Valley, Iowa.

Overview of Company

Meadowvale Dairy, LLC, operates two National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) – permitted large concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) confining a total of approximately 9,000 head of cattle on a combined 185 acres in Rock Valley, IA. The operation includes four locations – the North Site and the South Site (both of which are permitted), a calf barn/hut, and a satellite concrete manure storage structure.

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Mismanagement of animal wastes at all four locations is responsible for Meadowvale’s unpermitted discharges of pollutants in violation of Section 301 of the Clean Water Act (CWA) alleged in this action. Meadowvale also had numerous NPDES permit violations related to failure to adequately operate and maintain its manure storage structures.

The state of Iowa identified multiple violations of the facilities’ permits dating back to at least 2002, including two fish kills in 2004 and 2009. These violations resulted in at least three penalty assessments initiated by the state. State and EPA inspections discovered unauthorized discharges of stormwater runoff in 2013 and 2014.

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Injunctive Relief

The proposed consent decree requires Meadowvale to implement injunctive relief that includes short-term and long-term corrective measures to ensure all production areas are designed, constructed and operated not to discharge except with a precipitation event that is greater than a 24-hour, 25-year storm event. Meadowvale has agreed to immediate compliance with all of its NPDES permit requirements, including its nutrient management plan, and to expand its permit coverage to the calf hut and manure bunker areas. Meadowvale also agreed to retain an independent verifier to develop and perform a third-party audit to verify its compliance with the requirements of this proposed consent decree.

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Pollutant Reductions  

EPA estimates that the injunctive relief required in this proposed settlement will result in a total pollutant reduction value of 202,523 pounds per year, consisting of 97,200 pounds of total suspended solids (TSS), 79,891 pounds of chemical oxygen demand (COD), 15,978 pounds of five-day biological oxygen demand (BOD5), 4,394 pounds of nitrogen, 1,598 pounds of phosphorus, and 3,462 pounds of potassium per year.

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Health and Environmental Effects

Aquatic life in the Big Sioux River and its tributaries has been impacted by discharges of animal waste from Meadowvale Dairy. Iowa’s Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) documented two fish kills caused by the dairy. IDNR conducted sampling at four downstream locations and found high levels of E. coli – a pathogen found in manure and process wastewater.

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Civil Penalty

Meadowvale will pay a civil penalty of $160,000.

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Comment Period

The proposed settlement, lodged in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval. Information on submitting comments is available at

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For more information, contact:

Kristin Buterbaugh, Attorney-Adviser
Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW (Mail Code 2243A)
Washington, DC 20460
(202) 564-4479

Chris Muehlberger, Attorney-Advisor
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 7
11201 Renner Boulevard
Lenexa, Kansas 66219
(913) 551-7623

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