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Attorney general's suit puts farms on water-pollution notice

By Legal News Line | Mar 30, 2007

Tom Miller

DES MOINES -- It seems Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller doesn't like water pollution no matter what the industry source. On Thursday, Miller announced he had filed his latest "environmental enforcement lawsuit" (EEL) for water pollution violations against North Iowa's Golden Oval Eggs LLC, an intensive egg farm. Miller alleges that contaminated water from Golden Oval's drainage ditch polluted Pike Run Creek, a tributary of the Winnebago River. The farm houses 5.7 million chickens in a 22-barn facility in Winnebago County about 30 miles northwest of Mason City. The suit alleged multiple water-pollution violations against the facility since April of 2005. Early last month, Miller filed water pollution charges against Council Bluffs-based companies Red Giant Oil and Searle Petroleum. Miller alleged the two "unlawfully and knowingly" discharging a petroleum-based pollutant into Iowa waters. The companies are charged with 14 violations over 17 months at penalty of $50,000 per breach per day. One day earlier Bulk Petroleum Co. was hit with a suit claiming leaks in 61 of its underground storage tanks at $5,000 per violation. Golden Oval's EEL charges it with water-pollution violations over three months of 2005, 11 months of 2006 and the first two months of this year. The suit seeks penalties of $5,000 per violation per day. Miller claims the Iowa DNR issued Golden Oval three notices last year warning that it was violating its effluent-limit permits. The Iowa Environmental Proection Commission referred the case to the attorney general last December. The facility's effluent permit restricted its discharge of chemicals, suspended solids and biochemical oxygen demand.

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