Iowa AG files suit against swine confinement operation

By Nick Rees | May 18, 2010


KEOKUK, Iowa (Legal Newsline) -- Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller has filed an environmental enforcement lawsuit against a large swine confinement operation that is alleged to have had repeated water pollution and animal feeding operation violations.

A complaint received by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources on March 19, 2009, alleges that Pieper Inc. land-applied manure on a field with an irrigation ditch at its Lee County operations site. The manure, the lawsuit alleges, then ran off the field into a drainage ditch.

Investigations by DNR officials on March 20, 2009, observed liquid that was "green in color and had an odor of hog manure" running off a Pieper field. Laboratory samples of the liquid were taken by the DNR from several points that were found to have "extremely high concentrations of ammonia."

Miller's lawsuit, filed Monday, also alleges that Pieper land-applied manure without proper certification of the operators, misapplied manure using a spray irrigation system and failed to notify the DNR of the manure release.

Additionally, Pieper is alleged to have failed to submit a required complete manure management plan for its facility despite numerous reminders from the DNR.

Miller's environmental enforcement lawsuit seeks a civil penalty of up to $5,000 per day per violations as well as a prohibition of any future violations.

Pieper previously was the subject of environmental enforcement administrative orders. Those orders, issued by the DNR in 1978, 1991 and 2006, were for a variety of confinement feeding operation violations.

Pieper's operation includes a 7,100-head gestation, farrowing and finishing operation as well as a 1,300-head nursery operation, which are both contained in 10 buildings. Manure is stored in below-building puts and a large slurry tank at the site.

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