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Be Aware: Meeting water quality regs is not a DIYer task

Be Aware: Meeting water quality regs is not a DIYer task
Pennsylvania dairy cattle business paid a $20,000 fine and agreed to correct water quality violations of the state's Clean Streams Law.

Farmers are renowned do-it-yourselfers. But when it comes to complying with federal Clean Water Act and state water quality regulations, even DIYers need to follow permitting rules, get appropriate expert assistance and perhaps seek cost-sharing grants for their projects. A widely known Pennsylvania dairy business family recently learned that expensive lesson.

Last week, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection announced it had entered into a consent order and agreement with the Gutman Family dairy cattle businesses located in York and Adams counties, to correct environmental violations of the Clean Streams Law. As part of the agreement, the Gutmans paid a $20,000 civil penalty.

HEAVY-USE RUNOFF ZONE: This heavy-use animal area has a small stream running through it.

The Gutman’s York County facility is an ag operation that buys dairy heifers for resale domestically and overseas. Responding to complaints, the York County Conservation District conducted multiple inspections between June 2014 and May 2015. The YCCD discovered that the Gutmans had insufficient erosion and sediment control and manure management plans.

The district also determined that the Gutmans failed to implement and maintain best management practices to minimize the potential for erosion and sedimentation from animal heavy use areas, and documented a discharge of sediment and manure from the Krafts Mill Road farm to a Codorus Creek tributary above Lake Marburg, near Hanover, Pa.

Prior approval required

UNPERMITTED: The business conducted dairy operations on both sides of the road, according to DEP, without the necessary CAFO permit.

The Gutmans also began construction of a new feed line and manure storage facility without first obtaining a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit for stormwater discharges associated with the construction activities. The business also failed to obtain the necessary NPDES permit for the period of time they operated the farm as a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation, according to DEP.

“The violations were extensive and far-reaching in scope,” said Lynn Langer, DEP South-central regional director. “All agricultural operations must be aware of the need to operate within the framework of the specific regulations. Adherence to the regulations helps minimize harmful impacts to the environment, and will protect and improve the local water quality of Codorus Creek and, ultimately, the Chesapeake Bay.”

Within 60 days, the Gutmans are required to file the necessary control plans and begin taking the appropriate actions to bring their facilities into compliance with the regulations.

TAGS: Livestock
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