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U.S. EPA orders six Southern California dairies to comply with federal Clean Water Act


LOS ANGELES -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently ordered six dairies located in the Southern California cities of Chino, Ontario, and Mira Loma to comply with federal wastewater discharge regulations or face fines up to $32,500 per day per violation.

The EPA issued the orders to the Legend Dairy #1, Legend Dairy #3, Sun Valley Jersey Dairy #1, Miersma Dairy #1, Tom Alger Dairy, and Venegas Dairy for failing to comply with their wastewater discharge permit requirements, violations of the federal Clean Water Act. Runoff from their facilities could pollute the Santa Ana River.

“These six dairies were cited for failing to comply with basic permit requirements addressing manure waste, which can pollute streams, rivers and groundwater,” said Alexis Strauss, director of the EPA’s water division for the Pacific Southwest. “Protecting public health and the environment is our primary goal and through participation in the California Dairy Quality Assurance Program – a program that has made significant progress improving the environmental performance of dairies statewide – we trust dairies will return to compliance promptly.”

At the request of the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board, the EPA inspected these dairies in March, 2007. The dairies are being cited for violations of state-issued permits, including: failure to execute waste management plans, failure to contain on-site manure waste; failure to properly design, construct, and manage manure containment structures; and failure to monitor and report to the state.

“The Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board benefits from its partnership with U.S. EPA in regulating wastewater discharges from dairies within the Santa Ana Region,” said Gerard Thibeault, Executive Officer of the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board. “We look forward to cooperative activities with U.S. EPA in the future to seek compliance with wastewater discharge standards.”

In 2000 and 2001, the EPA fined numerous dairies in the Chino area for similar Clean Water Act violations. In 2003, the EPA issued similar orders to five dairies in the Chino area. To address these violations and to prevent future violations, the EPA, along with 14 other signatories from the dairy industry, academia, environmental, and other state and federal agencies, formed the California Dairy Quality Assurance Program to provide compliance assistance to dairy producers and operators.

Through the California Dairy Quality Assurance Program, a voluntary environmental stewardship program, dairy operators learn how to meet all federal, state, regional and local requirements related to manure and nutrient management and protect surface and groundwater.

In California, compliance with the Clean Water Act’s permit program is overseen by the State’s Regional Water Quality Control Boards.


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