Contact: Cathy Rofshus, 507-206-2608
Rochester, Minn. -- Diamond K Dairy in Winona County has agreed to pay a $15,000 penalty to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) for violating state standards for odors and for allowing manure to discharge to a farm pond. The dairy has taken some correction action with further plans to reduce odors and better control manure.
The dairy, located in Mount Vernon Township near Altura, consists of six total confinement barns housing up to 1,066 dairy cows and 30 dairy calves. The facility has three manure-storage basins, a manure solids stacking area, a dead animal composting area, and two feed-storage areas. Owned by Al Kreidermacher and family members, the facility operates under the names of Diamond K Dairy, Inc. and Diamond K Feeds LLP.
Using continuous air-monitoring equipment, MPCA staff found that the facility violated state levels for hydrogen sulfide several times during 2008. Hydrogen sulfide is a gas that is partially responsible for foul odors. It often results from the breakdown of bacteria in the absence of oxygen, such as in wastewater and manure.
Also in 2008, the dairy allowed two spills of liquid manure to flow overland to a farm pond on the property. The pond, classified as a water of the state, connects via a spillway to a trout stream less than a mile away, though none of the spilled manure reached the stream.
The odor and spill incidents happened when the dairy was working with the MPCA to renew its National Pollution Discharge Elimination System/State Disposal System (NPDES/SDS) permit as required by state and federal agencies.
The dairy now has the required permit and has taken some corrective action. Under its agreement with the MPCA, Diamond K Dairy must install equipment to reduce hydrogen sulfide emissions. It must also submit and implement plans to handle emergency spills of liquid manure, to store manure, to compost animal carcasses, and to eliminate runoff from certain areas. If Diamond K fails to comply with the agreement, it faces additional penalties.
A stipulation agreement is one tool that the MPCA uses to achieve compliance with environmental laws. When calculating penalties, the MPCA takes into account how seriously the violation affected the environment, whether it was a first time or repeat violation, and how promptly the violation was reported to appropriate authorities. The agency also attempts to recover the calculated economic benefit gained by failure to comply with environmental laws in a timely manner.
For a comprehensive list of enforcement actions by the MPCA, go to www.pca.state.mn.us/newscenter/enforcement.html.