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December 6, 2007

Plymouth Dairy Farms Inc. Pays $65,000 Penalty for Water Pollution Violations

State had sued 2,850-head dairy operation near Le Mars, alleging water pollution and manure-handling violations.

Le Mars, Iowa. Plymouth Dairy Farms, Inc., a 2850-head dairy cattle operation located south of Le Mars, has been ordered to pay a $65,000 civil penalty as a result of water pollution and manure-handling violations alleged in a lawsuit filed last year by the Attorney General’s Office.

District Court Judge Gary E. Wenell issued the Order Wednesday at Plymouth County District Court in Le Mars. Wenell assessed the $65,000 civil penalty, prohibited further violations, and required specific monitoring and reporting requirements to prevent future environmental mishaps. Plymouth Dairy Farms agreed to entry of the Consent Order, Judgment and Decree.

“We alleged serious violations, and this is an appropriate order,” said Attorney General Tom Miller. “Plymouth Dairy Farms had no history of violations prior to the alleged violations, and we believe it has been in compliance since the alleged violations,” he said.

The state lawsuit filed Jan. 10, 2006, alleged that cattle manure escaped from the dairy’s settling basins in September and October 2004 and ultimately discharged into a nearby unnamed tributary of Plymouth Creek. The suit also alleged that Plymouth Dairy Farms had excessive levels of manure stored in its settling basin on several occasions and failed to maintain a current management plan and other required manure application records.

The suit stated that when DNR officials investigated the October 2004 discharge, they observed that manure was discharging into the unnamed tributary at a rate of at least 100 gallons per minute. Downstream of the discharge, the stream “was murky and emitted a strong manure odor” and showed extremely high levels of ammonia nitrogen and fecal matter, the suit said.

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