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E-M:/ Fwd: DEQ Settles Lawsuit with Beaver Creek Farms

Enviro-Mich message from "Jack, Rita" <ritaj@umflint.edu>

-----Original Message-----
From: Pat Watson [mailto:WATSONPE@STATE.MI.US]
Sent: Tuesday, July 31, 2001 1:26 PM
Subject: New DEQ Press Release - 07/31/01

July 31, 2001                                           	

Contact: Ken Silfven
(517)  241-7397

DEQ Settles Lawsuit with Beaver Creek Farms
Ottawa County dairy farm agrees to $20,000 penalty

The Department of Environmental Quality, in cooperation with the Michigan Attorney General's Office, has settled a lawsuit against an Ottawa County dairy farm that violated the state's water quality laws.

Beaver Creek Farms is a 400-head dairy farm owned by William Henke Sr. and William Henke Jr.  The lawsuit stems from a May 1999 discharge of manure into Beaver Creek and Deer Creek.  The discharge caused an almost complete fish kill over several miles of Deer Creek during the 1999 Memorial Day weekend.

After failing to reach a negotiated settlement with the responsible parties, the Attorney General's Office sued Beaver Creek Farms on behalf of the DEQ.  Following testimony from state and local investigators, the defendants agreed to settle the case before the trial was completed.

Beaver Creek Farms agreed to pay a $20,000 civil penalty and reimburse the state $8,000 for compliance and enforcement costs.  It also will develop and implement a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan for its operation.  The judgment was entered with the 30th District Court in Ingham County on July 24.

"Clean water is essential to protecting public health and maintaining the quality of life enjoyed throughout Michigan," said DEQ Director Russell Harding.  "The state will continue working cooperatively with agricultural producers to minimize environmental impacts, but we also will take a strong enforcement stance when our laws are violated.  I applaud the professionalism of the DEQ's Surface Water Quality Division and the Attorney General's Office for handling this case in a fair and consistent manner."

The Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan is a farm-specific plan to protect water quality and minimize environmental impacts by managing farm wastes, while obtaining beneficial use from animal manure and organic byproducts.  It addresses issues such as polluted storm water, manure production and collection, land application management, record keeping, inspections, and emergency planning.

The plan must be reviewed and updated annually, and must be approved by the DEQ prior to implementation.

Resolution of this matter brings the total number of agricultural enforcement cases settled by the DEQ to 15 since 1992.  Several more cases are pending.  This was the third judicial settlement since September 2000.

The cases have resulted in more than $93,000 in civil penalties, $51,000 in cost reimbursement, and over $350,000 in corrective action.  They also have generated over $92,000 in cash donations to local environmental groups.


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