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E-M:/ DEQ Takes Action against Vreba-Hoff Dairy

Enviro-Mich message from "Robert McCann" <mccannr@michigan.gov>

January 19, 2007 (517) 241-7397

DEQ Takes Action against Vreba-Hoff Dairy

The Department of Environmental Quality announced today that a motion has been filed
by the Department of Attorney General at the DEQ?s request petitioning the 30th Judicial Circuit
Court to find Vreba-Hoff Dairy LLC in contempt of court for ongoing violations of a Consent
Judgment entered by the court in December 2004.

The 2004 Consent Judgment was negotiated by the DEQ and Vreba-Hoff to resolve
allegations raised by the DEQ in a complaint filed in September 2003, and supplemented in
March 2004. That complaint alleged 25 separate discharges of manure and other agricultural
wastes to surface water in the vicinity of Vreba-Hoff?s two dairies and land application sites in
Lenawee and Hillsdale counties.

The 2004 Consent Judgment placed substantial obligations on Vreba-Hoff to ensure that
discharges would not occur in the future, with the cornerstone of the agreement being the
design and implementation of an Enhanced Wastewater Treatment System to be used to treat
all wastes produced by Vreba-Hoff?s combined herd of approximately 6,200 animals. In
entering the 2004 Consent Judgment, 30th Judicial Circuit Judge James R. Giddings agreed to
maintain oversight over the agreement and its many requirements.

?This agency acted in good faith when it entered into the Consent Judgment with
Vreba-Hoff, and had the clear expectation that the company would live up to its commitment to
protect the environment,? said DEQ Director Steven E. Chester. ?That has not happened, and
our action today is to assure that Michigan?s water resources and the health of this community
are being protected.?

"My office is committed to protecting Michigan's environment," said Attorney General
Mike Cox. "We will work with the DEQ to target polluters and protect Michigan's environment."

In the materials filed by the Department of Attorney General today, the DEQ alleges that
the following violations of the 2004 Consent Judgment have occurred and will continue to occur
without action from the Court:

1. Failure to treat all agricultural waste;
2. Land application of untreated agricultural waste;
3. Failure to properly mark available capacity on storage structures;
4. Failure to separate sand from manure;
5. Two unlawful discharges to waters of the state occurring on November 25, 2006, and
January 10, 2007;
6. The land application of agricultural waste in the winter;
7. Land application of untreated agricultural waste within the Lime Lake Basin;
8. Failure to submit monthly progress reports; and
9. Failure to maintain a balance between waste production and waste utilization or

The DEQ has asked the court to award relief that will result in compliance with the 2004
Consent Judgment, including sufficient treatment of all wastes and a reduction in total herd size
until Vreba-Hoff can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Court and DEQ that it can properly
manage all wastes produced by the dairies without harming water resources of the state.

Editor?s note: DEQ news releases are available on the department?s Internet home
page at www.michigan.gov/deq.
?Protecting Michigan?s Environment, Ensuring Michigan?s Future?

Robert McCann
Press Secretary
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
Phone:  517-241-7397
Fax:  517-241-7401
Email: mccannr@michigan.gov  

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