Omaha, Neb. Operators of seven feedlots in Nebraska, Kansas and Iowa have been told to stop violating federal rules on animal waste discharges, the Environmental Protection Agency said Monday.
The EPA's Region 7 office in Kansas City, Kan., said in a statement that four feedlots in Iowa, two in Kansas and one in Nebraska had violated various provisions of the federal Clean Water Act. It said the violations could lead to contamination of nearby bodies of water, including streams, creeks and wetlands.
The EPA said it has issued administrative compliance orders to the feedlots, which range in capacity from 800 cattle up to 13,000 cattle.
In a phone call, EPA spokesman Chris Whitley said the compliance orders were the first step in a potential series of regulatory actions. If the feedlots fail to comply, civil penalties could follow. Those penalties would vary, Whitley said, depending on the severity of the violations and other factors.
The EPA issued the orders to the following four feedlots in Iowa:
— Crossroads Cattle Co. in Woodbine. The EPA said the feedlot didn't have enough storage capacity in its waste lagoons and that some cattle were kept in areas that lacked adequate controls to prevent unauthorized waste discharges. Crossroads Cattle Co. did not immediately return a call from The Associated Press.
— Feedlot Services Co., Neola. The EPA said the operation doesn't have a discharge permit.
John Roane, part-owner of Feedlot Services, said Monday that he just got the letter from the EPA. He said his outfit has been working with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources for years to ensure the feedlot followed environmental regulations.
"We thought we were in compliance, and we were, until the EPA showed up," Roane said.
He said he's having an expert look at the EPA letter to see what his company needs to do.
— Harlan Northrup Feedlot, Griswold. The EPA said the operation doesn't have a discharge permit. The company did not immediately return a phone call from the AP on Monday.
— Petersen-Bubke LLP, Mapleton. The EPA said the operation doesn't have a discharge permit. There was no answer at a phone number for feedlot co-owner Norman Petersen. Co-owner Joel Bubke declined to comment on Monday.
The EPA said two Kansas feedlots were in violation:
— KM Feeders, in Lyons. The EPA said the feedlot doesn't have enough storage capacity in its waste lagoons. KM Feeders officials did not immediately respond to a message left Monday afternoon at a number listed for the feedlot.
— McPherson County Feeders, Marquette. The EPA said the feedlot doesn't have enough storage capacity in its waste lagoons. Officials at McPherson County Feeders declined to comment.
In Nebraska, the EPA said, Knox County Feeders in Bloomfield had failed to follow terms of its discharge permit and couldn't provide key data.
Don Stange, owner of Knox County Feeders, said Monday that his operation's problem was related to paperwork, and there weren't any improper waste discharges.
"It was just record-keeping more than anything," Stange said. "We'll be in compliance in 30 days."
Stange said he has hired a new firm to maintain his feedlot's records to make sure his operation will be in compliance.