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E-M:/ CAFO must install wastewater treatment

With settlement of this suit against Vreba-Hoff dairy CAFOs, Michigan takes a first step in changing the CAFO waste system, to a less liquid system. Vreba-Hoff must pay $75,000, must install a $1,000,000 wastewater treatment system, apply for individual NPDES permit, and must immediately cease all land application of untreated waste in the Lime Lake basin (area surrounding the largest Vreba-Hoff facility in Hudson).  

The effluent may still be a problem -- it's contaminated water, milkhouse waste, etc.  But separating solids and composting makes sense, is a good start.

Wastewater treatment systems, and individual NPDES permits, should be requirements for all CAFOs, from now on.  The liquid waste system, land application practices, and polluting discharges of Vreba-Hoff CAFOs are no different from other CAFOs here and elsewhere in the state.  
--Janet Kauffman
Environmentally Concerned Citizens of South Central Michigan
Hudson, MI

DEQ Announces Settlement with Vreba-Hoff Dairy

Contact:  Robert McCann (517) 241-7397
Agency: Environmental Quality

December 28, 2004

The Department of Environmental Quality announced today that it has settled litigation with Vreba-Hoff Dairy, LLC. The lawsuit alleged violations of Part 31, Water Resources Protection, of Michigan’s Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act.

Vreba-Hoff operates two large concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) in Lenawee and Hillsdale counties known as “Vreba-Hoff I” and “Vreba-Hoff II”, respectively. >From November 2002 through March 2004, the DEQ staff documented 25 separate discharges of agricultural waste to area waterways, including tributaries to Bean and Durfee Creeks, and the Lime Lake Inlet.

As part of the settlement, Vreba-Hoff has agreed to install a wastewater treatment system at a cost of approximately one million dollars to treat waste from both dairies. The completed system will be installed and in use by December 1, 2005 and includes:

• A press treatment system consisting of a press, a clarifier, and a thickener for the purposes of separating liquids from solids, binding phosphorus in an insoluble form, and otherwise improving the quality of treated wastewater;

• Composting of solids from the press treatment system, bedded pack manure, and waste feed; and

• Aeration of liquids from the press treatment system, wash water from equipment, laundry, and milk houses, and runoff contaminated with silage leachate, feed, or manure.

Effluent from the aerated pond will be discharged to a reduced land area through an advanced irrigation system calibrated so that no unlawful discharge occurs during or after irrigation. Vreba-Hoff has also agreed to immediately cease the land application of untreated agricultural waste to the Lime Lake basin area. Once the wastewater treatment system is in use, the land application of untreated agricultural waste in other areas will cease as well.

Vreba-Hoff will also implement a number of operational improvements related to land application, permitting, and Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plans. This includes the upcoming issuance of individual National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits for each of the Vreba-Hoff dairies, stringent inspection, and record-keeping requirements, and the designation of a staff person(s) dedicated to overseeing compliance with environmental regulations.

Vreba-Hoff will pay to the state general fund a civil fine of $50,000 and partially reimburse the DEQ for $25,000 in enforcement costs.