State's Largest Dairy Operation Cited For Odor, Wastewater Violations

Aug. 30, 1999

Springfield, Ill. -- The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has notified Inwood Dairy in Peoria County it has violated state environmental regulations involving odors and water contamination, and could face fines and enforcement actions.

The dairy has approximately 1,250 head of cattle on the site near Elmwood, making it the largest dairy operation in the state.

Specifically, the Agency alleges that the firm has improperly discharged wastewater into waters of the state from silage deposited on the ground; managed waste in a manner that allowed odor pollution to occur; failed to utilize adequate odor control methods and technology; and risked overflows from its livestock waste lagoon by not maintaining sufficient storage capacity levels or freeboard, and inadequately diverting storm water from the lagoons to prevent overflows.

"The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency is committed to working with the state's agricultural and livestock industries," said Illinois EPA Director Thomas Skinner. "We also are committed to stepping in when we find significant environmental violations. This is such an instance."

The violations were detected during inspections of the facility on May 13 and Aug. 3.

Sent on Aug. 17, the violation notice letter gives the firm 45 days to respond with proposed corrective actions for each of the violations. The firm may also request a meeting with the Agency to discuss the problems and proposed solutions.

Failure to respond to a violation notice letter within 45 days will be viewed as a waiver of the chance to respond and meet, and could be followed by immediate formal enforcement actions. Such actions can be taken to the Office of the Attorney General, the local State's Attorney, or U.S. EPA. Formal enforcement can lead to enforceable court orders requiring specific corrective actions, payment of fines, or both.

As part of the violation notice, the Illinois EPA included several recommendations for corrective actions. These include maintaining a minimum of three feet of freeboard in the cattle waste lagoon at all times as well as installation of an easily visible freeboard marker and installation of a rain gauge, with written freeboard and rainfall records to be submitted to the Agency monthly.

"Reasonable measures" including gutters, downspouts, berms, curbs and dikes to divert clean storm water away from the waste lagoons are recommended, as well as appropriate odor control activities to eliminate offensive, off-site odors.

The Agency also urged that the dairy cease expansion of the facility until successful odor control techniques are in place.

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