A settlement has been reached by federal regulators and two cattle feeding operations in northeast Nebraska following an investigation into manure runoff.
According to a press release from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), two separate cattle feeders in the West Point, Nebraska area have reached an agreement with the agency to resolve violations of the Clean Water Act (CWA). The feedlot owners have agreed to bring their facilities into federal regulatory compliance in an effort to protect Nebraska waterways from pollutants.
An investigation at the feedlots by EPA inspectors showed that both facilities “lacked adequate, engineered livestock waste controls to prevent discharges of manure and process wastewater.” Further analysis showed feedlot-related pollutants into a tributary of Plum Creek. The creek flows into the Elkhorn River, a waterway that is listed as “impaired” by the state of Nebraska for Escherichia coli (E. coli), a disease-causing type of fecal coliform bacteria passed through the fecal excrement of livestock.
The two feedlots plan to provide the EPA with a plan that either:
- Cease all discharges from their facilities
- Reduce the number of cattle at their facilities below regulatory thresholds
- Obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit that would require measures to minimize pollutant impacts. An NPDES permit is required for the discharge of pollutants from any “point source” into waters of the U.S.
Additionally, the feedlots both agreed to pay a civil penalty. Bar MK, L.L.C., has agreed to pay a penalty of $29,000. Cindy Stratman, doing business as Cindy Stratman Livestock, has agreed to pay a penalty of $22,000.
The Consent Agreement and Final Orders for both sites are available for public notice and comment through Sept. 18, 2018.