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Bruneau Cattle Company Agrees to Pay $40,000 to Resolve Clean Water Act Violations


Bruneau Cattle Co. (Bruneau) has agreed to pay a $40,000 penalty to settle alleged Clean Water Act violations. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the violations occurred at the Bruneau Cattle Company’s feedlot, located on Jack’s Creek Road in Owyhee County, near the town of Bruneau, Idaho.

The settlement resolves alleged Clean Water Act violations involving the discharge of runoff from the feedlot’s pens without permit coverage under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). Based on an NPDES inspection of the Bruneau facility in February of 2006, EPA determined that the Bruneau facility had been discharging wastewater into the South Side Canal numerous times in the last five years. The South Side Canal and Jack’s Creek flow into the C.J. Strike Reservoir, which flows into the Snake River. Bruneau has over 4000 head of cattle in its facility, yet it had no containment to prevent runoff of process wastewater.

According to Mike Bussell, EPA’s Director, Office of Compliance & Enforcement in Seattle, Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) continue to be a leading source of water quality impairment in the United States. Consolidation trends in the livestock industry have resulted in larger-sized operations that generate about 500 million tons of manure annually. This is three times the amount of human waste produced in the US.”

“When CAFOs fail to take proper precautions, including obtaining necessary wastewater discharge permits, their manure laden runoff can pollute our rivers and streams and contribute to fish kills,” said Bussell. “CAFOs that discharge into our waterways are required to have permits under the Clean Water Act. This requirement has been on the books since the 1970’s -- so there’s no excuse for not complying with the law.”

In addition to paying a penalty, Bruneau has agreed to undertake various measures to ensure that wastewater is land applied at agronomic rates and is not discharged to surface waters.

The NPDES permit program, established under the federal Clean Water Act, controls water pollution by regulating sources that discharge pollutants to waters in the United States.


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