Five Star Dairy penalized for manure runoff into Buffalo Creek

Contact: Stephen Mikkelson, 218-316-3887

According to a Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) enforcement investigation, mismanagement of feed and manure storage areas at Five Star Dairy, near Gaylord, allowed manure contaminated runoff to drain into nearby Buffalo Creek in the spring of 2021. Violations included:

  • Failure to operate and maintain liquid manure storage areas and the feedpad in accordance with permit requirements.
  • Failure to repair damage to a feed storage area within 60 days of discovering the damage, and storing manure on the feedpad without prior approval.
  • A discharge of processed wastewater from the feed storage area into Buffalo Creek.
  • Failure to place manure stockpiles in an area that meets rule and permit requirements.

The company paid a $27,700 civil penalty to the MPCA and has completed a series of corrective actions including:

  • Removing manure stockpiles from the facility and land applying them according to rule and permit requirements.
  • Submitting an updated operations and maintenance plan.
  • Immediately operating liquid manure storage areas according to rule and permit requirements.
  • Relocating all feed on the site to originally permitted area, to prevent future discharges.

MPCA rules and regulations are designed to protect human health and the environment by limiting pollution emissions and discharges from facilities. When companies do not fully comply with regulatory requirements, the resulting pollution can be harmful to people and the environment.

When calculating penalties, the MPCA takes into account how seriously the violations affected or could have affected the environment, and whether they were first-time or repeat violations. The agency also attempts to recover the economic benefit the company gained by failing to comply with environmental laws in a timely manner.