Two huge dairy farms could lose their state permits as a result of recent manure spills, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management said.
IDEM Commissioner Thomas Easterly warned in a statement Tuesday that Union-Go Dairy in Randolph County and De Groot Dairy in Huntington County faced crackdowns stemming from two spills this month.
"My staff and I intend to act swiftly to address the serious non-compliance issues at the livestock operations responsible for these emergency spills," Easterly said. "IDEM will work to the fullest extent of its authority to pursue administrative action and penalties in these cases, and determine whether permit revocations are appropriate.
"Last week, workers at the 1,650-cow Union-Go Dairy set up a dam so they could pump manure out of Sparrow Creek near Winchester after manure fouled about two miles of the stream.On Monday, manure runoff from the 1,400-cow De Groot Dairy about 30 miles southwest of Fort Wayne entered a small stream that feeds into the Salamonie Reservoir, IDEM said.
The Associated Press left a phone message seeking comment Tuesday night at Union-Go Dairy. There was no published listing for De Groot Dairy or owner Johannes De Groot.
Both dairies are concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, operated
by Dutch immigrants.
Governor Daniels made it a priority to expand pork production in the state during his tenure, encouraging the siting of large, livestock confinement operations. Waste disposal is a major concern with these operations. One large CAFO can create as much waste as a small city. But unlike the small city, the operators are not required to build waste water treatment facilities to deal with the waste. Instead, the manure is stored in man-made lagoons and spread over area farmland as fertilizer. The negative environmental impact from runoff from Midwestern CAFOS is felt in waterways leading all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.