FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT:
December 3, 2003 Neil Kagan, National Wildlife
Aaron Isherwood, Sierra Club
Anne Woiwode, Sierra Club
National Wildlife Federation/Sierra Club Settlement Promises Clean Up of Lenawee County Streams and Drains
Hudson, MI - Hartland Farms, which for years has threatened public health and the environment by contaminating local waterways with animal waste, will now have to clean up its act under a settlement of a lawsuit filed by the Sierra Club and National Wildlife Federation. Since 2000, Hartland Farms has repeatedly violated the Clean Water Act by discharging manure and other animal waste into tributaries of the River Raisin. The illegal discharges severely contaminated the waterways with E.coli bacteria and other pathogens.
"This agreement holds Hartland Farms responsible for past violations of the Clean Water Act," said Neil Kagan, Senior Counsel for the National Wildlife Federation. "But it also assures that they will not be off the hook for any future violations that could threaten the health and well-being of families and farms downstream."
The settlement imposes a $5,000 penalty and assesses costs on the concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) for contamination of waterways with animal waste, as well as requiring payment of additional penalties for any future violations. Kagan said the agreement also requires substantial design and management modifications by Hartland Farms.
Hartland Farms will also be required to provide and report the results of independent testing and monitoring of waters running off the property in the event of future excessive manure spreading. Many of the violations cited in the lawsuit were initially detected and reported by volunteers with the Environmentally Concerned Citizens of South Central Michigan (ECCSCM), with funds for testing provided through Sierra Club grants. The volunteers began routine testing of streams and county drains in August 2000 after several concentrated animal feeding operations were built within a ten mile radius of Hudson.
"Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations are a huge problem for human health and the environment," said Anne Woiwode, Director of the Michigan Sierra Club. "This settlement assures that in the future, the polluters will be responsible for cleaning up their messes."
Hartland Farms is required to obtain a permit from the Department of Environmental Quality in order to continue to operate the facility. Ten livestock operations have obtained coverage under Michigan's CAFO water quality permit, which went into effect January 1, 2003, and another 19 facilities have been identified by the state as requiring permits. The DEQ is a party to the settlement agreement with Hartland Farms as well, assuring that it has authority to enforce the provisions.