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Protecting the Environment

For immediate release -- January 10, 2006.
Contact Eric Tabor -- 515-281-5191.

A.G. Sues Dairy for Water Pollution Violations

Suit alleges violations by Plymouth Dairy Farms Inc. in northwest Iowa.

Le Mars, Iowa. Attorney General Tom Miller filed a lawsuit today alleging repeated water pollution and manure-handling violations by Plymouth Dairy Farms Inc., a 2850-head dairy cattle operation located south of Le Mars in northwest Iowa.

The lawsuit alleges that cattle manure escaped from the dairy's settling basins in September and October 2004 and ultimately discharged into a nearby unnamed tributary of Plymouth Creek. Plymouth Dairy Farms failed to notify the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) of the October manure release, the suit alleges.

The suit also alleges that Plymouth Dairy Farms had excessive levels of manure stored in its settling basin during August, September, and October 2004. It also alleges that in 2005 Plymouth failed to maintain a current manure management plan and failed to keep copies of manure sales forms and manure application agreements as required.

The suit stated that the DNR received an anonymous complaint in October 2004 that the road ditch east of Plymouth Dairy "was full of manure." When DNR officials investigated, they observed that manure was discharging into the unnamed tributary at a rate of at least 100 gallons per minute. Downstream of the discharge, the stream "was murky and emitted a strong manure odor" and showed extremely high levels of ammonia nitrogen and fecal matter, the suit said.

The matter was investigated by the DNR. The Environmental Protection Commission referred the matter to the Attorney General for judicial enforcement on September 19, 2005.

The lawsuit was filed in Plymouth Country District Court in LeMars. It asks the court to assess civil penalties and to issue a permanent injunction prohibiting any future violations.

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