(Kansas City, Kan. -- A beef feedlot in Underwood, Iowa, has agreed to pay a $20,000 civil penalty for unpermitted discharges of wastewater from the facility into Mosquito Creek.
Moran Beef, Inc., agreed to pay the penalty as part of an administrative consent agreement filed by EPA Region 7 in Kansas City, Kan. In June 2009, EPA inspectors visited the facility and found that it lacked controls to prevent the discharge of animal waste into Mosquito Creek and its tributaries. A subsequent inspection in October 2009 collected samples of effluent that showed the facility was discharging pathogens, ammonia and nitrate into an unnamed tributary of the creek.
At the time of EPA’s inspection of Moran Beef, the facility was confining approximately 1,485 cattle in its open lot and confinement barn operations. A Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) with both open lots and confinement barns is subject to regulation under the Clean Water Act as a “Large CAFO” if the entire operation contains more than 1,000 beef cattle.
EPA issued an administrative compliance order to Moran Beef in January 2010, directing it to comply with requirements of the Clean Water Act and end all unauthorized discharges of wastewater from its facility. Following that order, Moran Beef applied for a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit and has built controls at its facility to prevent unauthorized discharges.
Unpermitted discharges of wastewater from CAFOs can cause exceedances in water quality standards and pose risks to human health, threaten aquatic life and its habitat, and impair public use and enjoyment of waterways.