Confirmed Violations/Discharges from CAFOs and Liquid-System Livestock Operations to Bean/Tiffin Watershed and River Raisin Watershed
We strongly believe 12 of the Hudson-area CAFOs have violated Michigan’s Natural Resources & Environmental Protection Act or their CAFO Permits. Most CAFOs have multiple violations.
4,706 violations, 2000-2018 – this is a conservative list, noting only violations documented by federal and state agencies.
Date – Violation Count – Description of Violation
June 18, 2018 – 4706 – Less than 10 years after finally complying with a State of Michigan Administrative Consent Order for repeated violations of their NPDES CAFO permit, Hoffland Dairy has earned another one. After a series of compliance communications and violation notices, ACO-05126 became effective June 7, 2018. The farm failed to submit a permit renewal application with a comprehensive nutrient management plan upon expiration of its NPDES permit on Oct. 1, 2014, then failed to comply with notifications in Aug. 2015, Feb., March, June, Aug., and Nov., 2016, and a compliance communication in July of 2017. Finally, it failed to comply with the violation notice issued on 11.15.2017, which stated:
“The facility has operated and discharged wastewater to the waters of the state without first applying for and then being issued the required NPDES permit since the previous permit expired on October 1, 2014”.
During this time, Hoffland Dairy received a violation notice for a discharge to Deline Drain (S. Branch, Raisin) and an inspection report that directed Hoffland to address issues at its satellite facility on Haley Rd.
With this ACO, Hoffland was assessed a civil fine of $3,000 and charged $2,400 in permit fees for 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018.
January 19, 2018 – 4705 – MDEQ Compliance Communication letter (1.19.2018) to Bakerlads farm, based on MDEQ inspection on 9.27.2017 and evaluation. MDEQ found the following:
- At the time of the inspection, spill-over of manure was noted along the southern side of the solids storage area/manure transfer lane (from the barns to the manure lagoon).
- During the inspection, silage leachate was noted along the southern and western sides of the silage bunker.
MDEQ ordered that the farm submit a work plan, including a timeline, for addressing the two issues above by March 1, 2018.
- The facility is currently keeping land application records and completing weekly operation and maintenance inspections, however, the DEQ approved form is not being utilized for these activities and not all permit required information is being recorded.
- Damaged or missing depth gauge markers need to be re-installed in all liquid waste storage structures.
MDEQ ordered that the farm submit documentation that the above two issues are corrected by June 1, 2018.
January 18, 2018 – 4704 – MDEQ CAFO Inspection Compliance Communication letter (1.18.2018) to Hartland Farms, based on an inspection on 9.29.2017 and evaluation. MDEQ found that:
- The facility is currently keeping land application records, however, the current MDEQ approved form is not being used and not all permit required information is being recorded.
- The total phosphorus application for fields 92 and 93 appears to be high for two year removal rate based on the listed crop. Please provide a summary of how the agronomic rate was calculated for these fields.
- The 2016 annual report indicates that the nutrient application rate for field 91 was based on a two year utilization rate for phosphorus, however, this field also appears on the spread plan for 2017 to receive 10,000 gallons per acre of manure. Please provide a summary of nutrient application and removal on this field demonstrating how these nutrients will be utilized.
Hartland was ordered to comply with Item No. 1 by June 1, 2018 and Nos. 2 and 3 by March 1, 2018.
November 25, 2017 – 4,703 – Violations of Law by Hoffland Dairy.
The facility has operated and discharged wastewater to the waters of the state without first applying for and then being issued the required NPDES permit since the previous permit expired on October 1, 2014.
October 26, 2016 – 4702 – MDEQ CAFO Compliance Communication letter (10.26.2016) to Halliwill Farms listed the following items to be corrected, based on Aug. 2, 2016 evaluation:
- Farm must begin using DEQ approved record forms for land application of manure.
- Fence must be added to northern manure storage pond.
- Portions of clay berms for northern manure storage were showing signs of erosion; farm must fix.
June 29, 2016 – 4,701 – MDEQ Terrehaven CAFO Inspection Compliance Communication letter (6/29/2016) MDEQ found solid manure spilling over containment barriers at front and back barns, damage to concrete waste stacking pads, and several other maintenance issues that need to be addressed in order to keep manure and other waste from leaving the production areas. Many of these same problems are listed in the Consent Order that was issued on November 6, 2013. Still no fines, no penalties, though. How long will this go on?
Terrehaven Compliance Communication Letter from MDEQ 6.29.16 following 4/27/2016 inspection
April 28. 2016 – 4,700 – Following a complaint inspection of manure present in Deline Drain, on Tomer Road, west of intersection with Whaley Highway, it was determined that the most likely source of manure was a recent field application by Hoffland Dairy CAFO. DEQ identified the violation as a violation of Michigan’s Part 31, Water Resources Protection (of the NREPA (Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, Public Act 451 of 1994), and a violation of the facility’s NPDES permit, an unpermitted discharge. Hoffland must take immediate action to outline how they will prevent similar discharges on this and other fields.
October 2015 – 4,699 – Following a complaint inspection of Medina Dairy CAFO on Oct 12, 2015, DEQ cited the CAFO for applying waste to a field that was “not public noticed prior to the application of material. This is a violation of the facility’s permit,” which requires that new fields be assessed for appropriate CAFO waste application before any waste is applied.
DEQ Inspection Letter (Nov. 13, 2015)
October 2015 – 4,698 – DEQ cited Hartland Farms CAFO after “multiple fields…received manure application without incorporation,” a violation of its CAFO Permit. The DEQ Violation Letter proposes “scheduling a meeting with you to discuss possible changes to farm management practices to ensure that all permit requirements are met.”
DEQ Violation Letter (Nov 6, 2015)
April 2015 – 4,697 – DEQ inspection on April 21 of New Flevo Dairy CAFO found “a portion of the northern berm on the solid stacking pad that appeared to have blown out over the winter,” allowing “semi-solid manure/sand to move north east off of the pad.” The CAFO Permit requires weekly inspections of storage structures for “cracking, …evidence of overflow, leaks, seeps, erosion, slumping…” DEQ Inspection Note to File (May 8, 2015)
March 2015 – 4,692-4,696 – Terrehaven Farms CAFO cited on March 12 for a “discharge of manure laden water to Black Creek.” The discharge followed land application of manure to snow-covered ground and subsequent snow melt. Terrehaven was also cited for numerous violations of its CAFO Permit and noncompliance with previous Violation Notices (see January 2015 entry below, and extensive chronicle of Terrehaven violations over 10 years). DEQ ordered Terrehaven to take “immediate action to achieve and maintain compliance” with its CAFO Permit, in areas covering field assessment, production area waste containment, and lagoon standards. Terrehaven must provide a timetable to complete field-by-field assessments for winter application; containment of production area waste by May 1, 2015 (“as first noted in a violation notice from the DEQ dated November 8, 2013”); evaluation of northern solid manure storage structures, “with written certification” that standards are met by Aug 1, 2015. DEQ Violation Letter (March 31, 2015)
January 2015 – 4,690-4,691 – Following a complaint about inappropriate winter manure application by Bakerlads CAFO, a DEQ inspection found “discrepancies” in the CAFO’s field maps and information on technical standards [MARI scores] that assess the risk of winter application. DEQ ordered Bakerlads to “cease the surface application of CAFO waste to frozen or snow-covered ground until updated MARI scores…are submitted to DEQ.” DEQ Compliance Letter (Feb 3, 2015) January 2015 – 4,688-4,689 – DEQ inspection of Bleich Dairy CAFO and review of farm records found that manure “had been applied to a field at a time when the NWS forcast was predicting a very high probability of a rain event in excess of 1/2 inch within 24 hours. Field application of manure when there is a 70 percent chance or grater for rainfall in excess of 1/2 inch within 24 hours is a violation of the CAFO general permit.” DEQ Compliance Letter (Jan 30, 2015)
January 2015 – 4,686-4,687 – Terrehaven CAFO – 10 years of noncompliance, with lack of production area waste containment, discharges and runoff, lack of evidence that manure lagoons meet standards, and other violations. Production area runoff was first noted by DEQ in Feb 2005 (see entry below). In Jan 2015, Terrehaven is still out of compliance with a DEQ Violation Notice from Nov 2013 ordering containment of production area waste. In a letter Jan 29, 2015, DEQ requires Terrehaven to submit yet another “timetable” for construction of the CAFO waste collection system by May 1, 2015… “To ensure that this issue is addressed in a timely manner.” Terrehaven is also still out of compliance with standards for waste storage structures and is required, yet again, to submit “a schedule” for the evaluation of the north storage lagoons by March 1, 2015. DEQ Compliance Letter (Jan 29, 2015) NOTE:Under the Freedom of Information Act, some DEQ files from the past are newly available, and show multiple CAFO violations, some over many years. See additions below for Terrehaven CAFO and Bleich CAFO
Terrehaven CAFO – Feb 2005 – 2015 (2,130-4,685 – see most recent above ) – 10 years of non-containment of production area waste should be 3,650 days of violation, but conservatively, counting only the days since the first Schedule of Compliance in May 2008, that’s approx 7 yrs, 2,555 days.
• Feb 2005 – DEQ Investigation from Feb 14, 2005, reports production area runoff pooling south and west of the facility. DEQ water samples taken from the Baker County Tile found E. coli levels of 20,000/100mL and 8,000/100mL. DEQ Investigation (Feb 14, 2005)
• June 2009 – DEQ Inspection of Terrehaven CAFO on June 2, 2009, was following up on a Schedule of Compliance agreed to a year earlier on May 19, 2008. “During the inspection, Mr. Bleeker indicated that current economic conditions have made meeting the Schedule of Compliance difficult.” Still not completed were: containment of silage leachate and production area containment. DEQ Inspection Letter (June 5, 2009)
• March 2010 – Terrehaven manure discharge from the production area on March 5, 2010, when hydraulics failed on a tractor, opening a valve. Liquid manure estimated by Terrehaven at 9,000 – 12,000 gal overflowed a spreader, “flowed over the driveway and into the back barnyard. Ice and snow dammed up the manure until it flowed over the top. Once it got over the dam, it flowed about 500 feet across the hay field and 200 feet of lawn. There it flowed into a large standing pool of water from the snow melt. We put a pail over the drain [to Baker Tile], with a block on top of it.” DEQ Report of Discharge from Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation, Terrehaven (March 10, 2010)
• March 2010 – DEQ orders Terrehaven CAFO to provide an evaluation of storage structures to demonstrate they are up to standards by Sept, 2010. DEQ Letter (March 18, 2010)
• April 2011 – DEQ cites Terrehaven CAFO for violation of CAFO Permit, failure to submit required Annual Report. DEQ notes, “This same issue has also been addressed in past letters, dated June 3, 2008, and Oct 11, 2010. DEQ Violation Notice (April 14, 2011)
• (see also in main list below black line: Terrehaven violations Jan 2013; Nov 2013- 2 entries, including an Administrative Consent Order; and May 2014)
Bleich CAFO – Jan 2001- Oct 2004 – 1,129- 2,129 – A multi-year discharge of contaminated stormwater from Bleich CAFO, draining from the feed storage area, barnyard, and grazing area to a tributary of St. Joseph Cr, Bean/Tiffin Watershed, first noticed during a DEQ inspection on Jan 30, 2001. In a DEQ letter dated Oct 8, 2004 – more than 3 years (1,000+ days) later – DEQ reports that although a Notice Letter had been sent Feb 2, 2001 to Bleich Dairy [this letter not in file], requiring actions to stop the discharge, “To date [Oct 8, 2004], acceptable long-term actions have yet to be implemented and contaminated storm water continues to drain through the grazing area, discharging to waters of the state.” DEQ Letter, Compliance and Enforcement (October 8, 2004)
November 2014 – 1,128 – DEQ cited Bakerlads CAFO for spreading manure “on frozen or snow-covered ground on a field not appropriate for manure applications to frozen or snow-covered ground,” a violation of Bakerlads’ CAFO Permit. DEQ Letter (Dec 12, 2014)
October 2014 – 1,124 – 1,127 – DEQ cited New Flevo Dairy (NFD), Forrister Rd, Adrian, for multiple violations after an inspection Oct 27 found an “unlawful discharge of silage leachate to Hazen Creek.” The receiving water, in River Raisin Watershed, “contained unnatural color, foam, and microbial growth which is a violation of the NPDES Permit.” NFD was cited for a dry weather discharge “through an open ‘overflow’ pipe leading to a clean water drainage ditch,” as well as a direct discharge “due to inappropriate production area management.” The discharge was from a pipe that “should have no longer been there.” In addition, DEQ notes, “This pipe had recently been covered with waste feed and soil prior to the arrival of WRD [Water Resources Division] staff…it appeared the farm was aware of the discharge prior to WRD staff notifying them of it.” DEQ is requiring NFD to remove the overflow pipe, re-grade a ditch, install “a concrete-lined conveyance” to the silage collection area, and complete other production area work. DEQ also informed New Flevo that “Due to the severity of the noncompliance, the matter is being evaluated for escalated enforcement.” DEQ Letter, Second Violation Notice (November 6, 2014)
September 2014 – 1,123 – DEQ cited Hartland Farms for violation of its CAFO NPDES Permit after stockpiling CAFO waste between Sept 24 and Sept 29 in a field not listed in the facility’s CNMP for stockpiling, and not approved prior to use. DEQ Letter (Oct 8, 2014)
June 2014 – 1,117 – 1,122 – DEQ cited New Flevo Dairy (NFD), Forrister Rd, Adrian, for stockpiling CAFO waste without incorporation for 7 days, a violation of the CAFO Permit. Following a complaint about the stockpiling, DEQ inspected NFD on June 27, 2014, and found stockpiles in the field; NFD application records confirmed “stockpiles on the field had been present since June 19.” The CAFO Permit requires incorporation of stockpiled waste within 24 hours. DEQ Letter on Permit Violation (July 11, 2014)
June 2014 – 1,114 – 1,116 – Milk Source’s Hudson Dairy cited by DEQ for applying CAFO waste on 4 days on 3 fields not listed in its Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan, as required by the CAFO Permit. DEQ notes that “CAFO waste from Hudson Dairy had been applied to fields in Medina Dairy’s CNMP without proper manifest documentation on May 23-25, and May 27, 2014.” The violation ceased on May 27 when DEQ informed Hudson Dairy of the violation. As Permits are modified and updated with new fields, the fields may not be used “until the permittee has been notified by the MDEQ that processing of the permit modification is complete.” DEQ Letter on Permit Violation (June 18, 2014)
May 2014 – 1,109 – 1,113 – DEQ’s CAFO Reconnaissance Inspection of Terrehaven CAFO and land application sites found multiple violations, including stockpiling manure in fields for longer than 24 hrs; stockpiles on one field had been in place from April 21 through the day of inspection, May 7. Other violations of the Permit included not incorporating manure within 24 hrs of application; and not incorporating because of saturated ground (CAFO waste may not be applied on saturated ground). In addition, according to its own CNMP, Terrehaven does not to have six months manure storage, a requirement of all CAFOs. DEQ also noted Terrehaven submitted an “inadequate” plan to divert contaminated production area runoff, a plan required in a November, 2013 Violation Notice. Terrehaven is now required to submit a new plan to divert contaminated runoff and also a plan to divert clean storm water. DEQ CAFO Reconnaissance Inspection Letter (May 30, 2014)
March 2014 – 1,107-1,108 – Bakerlads Farm CAFO cited for land application violations of its Permit, including spreading manure on frozen, snow-covered ground on March 1 and March 10 on a field not included in the CAFO’s Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan (CNMP). The field had not been submitted for approval and public notice, as required, and not assessed using the Manure Application Risk Index, required before any application of CAFO waste to frozen or snow-covered ground. DEQ Letter on Permit Violations (March 24, 2014)
November 2013 – 1,100 – 1,106 – Terrehaven CAFO near Adrian cited for multiple violations of Part 31, Michigan’s Water Resources Protection Act and the CAFO’s NPDES permit at the production area of the facility. A DEQ inspection on Oct 23, 2013 found runoff from the feed storage area and barns flowing into a “temporary holding pond” not included in its CNMP and possibly not certified as required. Contaminated runoff from the production area was flowing “east toward an open field” and “west toward an open field, and eventually to a small pond.” The containment wall for the area was incomplete, and “the southern part of the feed storage area remains without a containment wall.” Several buildings did not have structures to divert clean stormwater, which “comes into contact with production area waste.” Woody vegetation was growing on the berms of the wastewater lagoon. Vegetation on berms is OK, but woody vegetation is not allowed because “it can compromise the integrity of the lagoon liner by root penetration.” The Violation Notice cites several Permit violations: following up on a complaint about Terrehaven applying manure in rain, DEQ found no record of weather forecast on file as required; new fields had been added for land application without submitting them for approval; and soil samples were outdated on several fields where manure was applied. DEQ Violation Notice (Nov 8, 2013)
November 2013 – DEQ Water Resources Division files an Administrative Consent Order (ACO) with Terrehaven CAFO, stating the CAFO is in violation of Part 31, Water Resources Protection, of Michigan’s Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, after failing to meet Nov 30, 2012 and Feb 1, 2013 deadlines for verification that its waste storage structures comply with required standards. The ACO includes stipulated penalties of $4,000, and requires an engineering review by Dec 1, 2013. Administrative Consent Order – 000210 (filed Nov 6, 2013)
January 2013 – 1,099 – Terrehaven CAFO near Adrian cited on Jan 18 for failure to submit verification that waste storage structures complied with engineering standards. DEQ Violation Notice (Jan 18, 2013) May 2012 – 1,098 – Southern Michigan Dairies was cited for a discharge on May 3 to a drainage ditch leading to a tributary of Bean Creek at Acker Hwy and Medina Rd. The cause of the discharge was “land application of waste too close to a conveyance right next to the tributary.” When DEQ arrived, SMD had “blocked the tributary with a dam and dub a collection hole to pump the waste out.” DEQ Violation Notice (May 10, 2012)
May 2012 – 1,095 – 1,097 – Southern Michigan Dairies cited for discharges of liquid manure to surface waters during liquid manure application during three days on fields east of the SMD 2 facility on US-127. On April 30, liquid manure was “leaking into a tile line and into a ditch along Donnelly Rd, leading to a tributary of Fisher Lake. On May 1, a call to the PEAS hotline of another dischargea in the same area, this time a dragline rupture, with liquid manure flowing to a tile intake, and on May 2, DEQ staff “found that waste had indeed made it through the tile line and had discharged to the head of a tributary to Fisher Lake.” In this same April 30 – May 2 period, after reports of scum on Toad Creek, SMD reported application rates of 18,000 gal/acre to DEQ, who told them to “cut that in half.” DEQ Violation Notice (May 10, 2012)
January 2012 – 1,094 – Southern Michigan Dairies fined $24,500 for violating its deadline for closure of the failed concrete manure lagoon at SMD 1. The lagoon was properly closed on Dec 27, 2011, 56 days past the deadline. The fine must be paid within 30 days of receipt of the DEQ Letter. DEQ Letter & Email to Mark Fischels, Pres., Southern Michigan Dairies, Rabo Agrifinance, Ames, Iowa (Jan 5, 2012)
August 2011 – 1,093 – Manure discharge to North Medina Drain, a tributary of Bean Creek, after a pipe break in manure spray-irrigation system at Southern Michigan Dairies 1, Dillon Hwy. A DEQ email to ECCSCM on 8/15/11 states: “Friday afternoon [Aug 12] there was a break at the pivot of the irrigation sprayer in the corn field west of Ingall Hwy. An unknown amount of liquid reached the beginning of the N Medina Drain. They immediately dammed up the drain at three separate points downstream, including at the field, downstream of Ingall Hwy and at the farthest point where any of the liquid reached downstream of Ingall. They called us late Fri morning and we were down there to observe that afternoon. They contained and pumped liquid throughout Friday and Saturday and either applied the liquid to approved fields or placed it back in lagoons. By Saturday night most of the work was done. Sunday they did some final flushing of the drain using clean water with contracted trucks from Leas Farms. The trucks were triple rinsed and filled with clean water for the flushing. Downstream of the flushing the water was again pumped out and field applied. Once the flushing was complete we approved the removal of the temporary dams and all is complete to our satisfaction at this point.” DEQ Violation Notice (August 25, 2011)
July 2011 – 1,090- 1,092– Bruinsma Dairy CAFO, Morenci, was cited for violating Michigan Water Resources Part 31, Michigan’s Water Resources Protection of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, for violating Administrative Rules of that Act, and for violating the CAFO’s National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit. The violations have been ongoing since 2010, when Bruinsma submitted a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan (CNMP) with its practices to protect water quality in connection with a reapplication for the NPDES permit. DEQ found “numerous deficiencies” in the CNMP and required Bruinsma to resubmit a CNMP by Dec 31, 2010. Bruinsma informed DEQ on Dec 6, 2010 it would submit the CNMP by June 1, 2011. No CNMP was ever submitted. After this prolonged period of violation, DEQ now requires Bruinsma to submit a CNMP by Aug 12, 2012. DEQ Violation Notice (July 18, 2011)
March 2011 – DEQ and Michigan Attorney General’s Office files an Administrative Consent Order with Southern Michigan Dairies, the subsidiary of Rabo Agrifinance which took over the 3 Vreba-Hoff CAFOs in November, 2010. The ACO requires SMD to pay $100,000 as partial payment of Vreba-Hoff fines owed, requires SMD to empty and close the satellite lagoon on Packard Rd by Sept. 30, 2011, as well as close the failed concrete lagoon at SMD 1 (formerly V-H 1). The ACO also requires notification if any potential buyer is “involved with Wilhemus van Bakel personally or any of his business entities, including but not limited to: Vreba-Hoff Dairy, LLC; Vreba-Hoff Holding, LLC; Vreba-Hoff Dairy Development; the Van Bakel Group, or Nova Lait, LLC. The DEQ reserves the right to leave whole the Judgment Liens…should SMD transfer Dairies I, II, or III …to a van Bakel or Vreba-Hoff affiliated entity.” See the full ACO document. Administrative Consent Order (filed March 29, 2011)
December 2010 – MDEQ Letter to Hoffland Dairy outlining failure to meet Consent Order deadline (at link)
July 2010 – 1089 – Following complaints from neighbors about emissions, Hartland Farms was cited by the Michigan Department of Agriculture for nonconformance with GAAMPs (Generally Accepted Agricultural Management Practices) for spraying liquid manure on the 4th of July weekend. GAAMPs state that “farms should avoid spreading manure on weekend/holidays to reduce complaints of odors.” MDA Letter to Complainant (July 27, 2010) June 2010 – 1086-1088 – Vreba-Hoff cited for violations of the Interim Order and permit, including continued use of the waste storage stucture on Packard Road, “which was required to be close”; no required update of crop changes or revised application rates; and irrigating liquid waste that had failed to achieve treatment limits standards. DNRE noted, “The violation(s) identified in this Violation Notice are continuing.” DNRE Notice Letter (July 19, 2010)
May 2010 – 1084, 1085 – Hoffland Farms cited for manure discharges at several locations, following draglining of liquid manure. DNRE staff noticed manure runoff flowing across Tomer Road at two locations, with contaminated flow entering “various field tiles and catch basins that discharge into Rice Lake, Bear Creek, and the South Branch River Raisin.” E. coli counts were as high as 15,000/100 mL, Suspended Solids 1600 mg/L (4 is the Reporting Limit), Dissolved Solids 900 mg/L (20 is the Reporting Limit), Copper 390 ug/L (1 is the Reporting Limit). DNRE Notice Letter (June 25, 2010) March 2010 – 1083 – Bakerlads Farm cited for manure discharge to a tributary of the South Branch of the River Raisin following land application of liquid manure. DNRE (formerly DEQ) notes, “The samples collected during the inspection indicate that the runoff water was severely contaminated and resulted in violations of water quality standards downstream.” Because of this discharge, Bakerlads Farm is required to apply for an NPDES CAFO permit. DNRE Notice Letter (April 2, 2010)
December 2009 – 374-1082 – Michigan files another lawsuit against Vreba-Hoff, noting Vreba-Hoff “has flagrantly violated the terms of the permit in violation of state law and based upon a July 23, 2009 correspondence from its agent, intends to continue doing so into the future.” The Complaint cites 128 days of violation in 2008-2009 including “707 instances where Vreba-Hoff irrigated waste at concetrations more than two times the amount allowed.” In addition, the Complaint notes that “the continued irrigation of effluent…may adversely affect groundwater quality by contributing to nitrate concentrations and mobilizing certain metals from soils into groundwater.” The Complaint also cites Vreba-Hoff for “unacceptably high levels of copper in waste effluent.” Since April 2009, the Complaint notes, Vreba-Hoff’s “EarthMentor systems have not been maintained by a properly certified operator.” The suit requests an injunction prohibiting land application of waste until “treatment standards in the permit have been met without relying upon dilution of the waste with less polluted water,” and requests a fine of “not less than $2,500 and up to $25,000 for each instance of violation and for each day of continued violation.” Summons and Complaint, 30th District Court (filed Dec 14, 2009)
August 2009 – 373 – Chesterfield Dairy discharges manure to Niles Ditch, a tributary of the River Raisin, Fairfield Twp, Michigan, after spray-application of a field over many days. DEQ orders field tile blocked, Niles Ditch pumped.
August 2009 – 372 – Vreba-Hoff 1 discharges manure to Medina Drain, a tributary of Bean Creek already listed as impaired in 2004 after mutliple manure discharges from Vreba-Hoff. DEQ orders pumping of the stream. DEQ Notice Letter (August 13, 2009)
July 2009 – 371 – Chesterfield Dairy manure discharge leads to major fish kill in Little Bear Creek (Fulton Co, OH), a tributary of the River Raisin. More than 8,000 aquatic animals killed, including approx. 1200 large fish as well as thousands of minnows and freshwater mussels. OhioEPA orders pumping of the stream.
March 2009 – 370 – Chesterfield Dairy cited by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for selling an adulterated animal for slaughter as food. FDA tissue tests found high residues of flunixin. An FDA inspection of the CAFO on March 3, 4, and 5 found the facility held “animals under conditions that are so inadequate that medicated animals bearing potentially harmful drug residues are likely to enter the food supply.” The FDA also cited the dairy’s “false guaranty” of unadulterated animals, and stated that “you routinely administer [Flunixin Meglumine] Injectable Solution to dairy cows without following the dosage as stated in the approved labeling,” and without supervision of a veterinarian, as required. FDA Letter (June 25, 2009)
March 2009 – 367-369 – DEQ cites multiple violations of Interim Order at Vreba-Hoff 1, including leachate and feed-contaminated snow outside the bunker “where it would melt and flow into the clean storm water system”; discharge of leachate from the compost pad “due to same mismanagement as observed in August of 2007.” In additiion, Vreba-Hoff is not composting solids as required, “but simply piling them up.” DEQ Notice Letter (March 25, 2009)
Feb 2009 – 366 – DEQ inspection at Vreba-Hoff 1 finds ripped copper sulfate bags stored outside, with “a substantial amount of blue staining all around the pallet after the recent snow melt.” Violation of Part 5 Rules, Spillage of Oil and Polluting Materials. DEQ Notice Letter (Feb. 20, 2009)
November 2008 – 356-365 – Mediator recommends Vreba-Hoff fines of $223,500 for multiple violations of the 30th Circuit Court’s Interim Order. The Dispute Resolution Facilitator (DRF) established by the Interim Order notes that Vreba-Hoff was required to construct a partial-treatment system for animal wastes, and pay $180,000 in penalties for previous violations when the “Defendant [Vreba-Hoff] presents an engineer’s certification that the Earth Mentor System is operating as designed…Defendant has not presented the certification.” Total fines are now $403,500. The DRF Report cites at least 10 violations, some continuing for many days, including: overflow of a manure pit (Sept. 7, 2007), discharging to Medina Drain; 3 other illegal discharges to streams; failure to remove cows as required when waste storage was insufficient; lack of freeboard marking; missed deadlines for construction of the treatment building and sand separation devices; missed deadline for operation of treatment cells at both Vreba-Hoff 1 and 2 facilities in Hudson. Report and Recommendations of Dispute Resolution Facilitator to the 30th Judicial Circuit Court, Ingham County (November 6, 2008)
September 2008 – Vreba-Hoff petitions for a Contested Case Hearing on its permit. Separately, in its September monthly report to DEQ, required by the Consent Order, Vreba-Hoff acknowledges it “has continued the irrigation of final state effluent water, even though the levels are not to standards.” Vreba-Hoff Petition for Contested Case Hearing (September 30, 2008); Vreba-Hoff Monthly Report for September 2008 (October 10, 2008)
July 2008 -355 – Agri-Flite Services, a crop dusting company, violates Michigan and federal pesticide laws on July 30 when spraying Headline Fungicide on Hartland Farms cornfield. Nearby residents became ill, and subsequent testing found the active ingredient of Headline, pyraclostrobin, on the residents’ property and crop fields. The Michigan Dept of Agriculture “has initiated the appropriate enforcement action with Agri-Flite Services.” MDA Disposition Letter (September 24, 2008)
July 2008 – 347-354 – Vreba-Hoff cited for discharging sediment-laden water through a hose (de-watering a stormwater pond under construction), which discharged into a gate valve and tile line leading to South Medina Drain. DEQ notes that Vreba-Hoff made no effort to control the sediment flow. Aerial photos show dewatering taking place on July 10. DEQ letter states, “it seems that dewatering, and therefore sediment discharge to the South Medina Drain, had been occurring for many days prior to WB [Water Bureau] staff discovering the incident on July 16th.” DEQ Notice Letter (July 18, 2008)
July 2008 – After multiple air quality violations over 3 years, State Line Farms in Morenci will shut down its swine barns at Ridgeville Rd, removing all animals by Nov. 9, and pay $28,000 in fines, under a Consent Order negotiated with Michigan’s DEQ.
May 2008 – 343-346 – Vreba-Hoff ordered not to spray-irrigate “treated” animal wastewater. Water tests by DEQ and Vreba-Hoff show the EarthMentor system “does not meet the treatment standards provided in the Interim Order…Based on the split samples, the waste in the irrigation cell at Vreba-Hoff Dairy II exceeds the standards by two to three times.” DEQ letter also cites storm water pollution prevention actions not taken — since 2007. DEQ letter (June 10, 2008)
May 2008 – 324-342 – Terrehaven Farms, Adrian, cited for many violations in numerous areas — inadequate silage leachate containment, storm water contamination, manure pad runoff, improper composting of dead animals. DEQ Notice Letter (June 3, 2008)
May 2008 – 323 – State Line Farms cited for “unreasonable odors,” air quality violations from swine barns at Ridgeville Rd. DEQ Letter of Violation (May 23, 2008)
April 2008 – 322 – Hartland Farms self-reports a dischrge of manure from a field tile after land application in a field draining to Bear Creek. DEQ Note to File (April 22, 2008)
March 2008 – 316-321 – Hartland Farms cited for multiple violations of its Consent Decree, NPDES permit, and illegal discharge of manure to Bear Creek after application of manure on frozen, snow-covered ground. DEQ staff noted that “manure-contaminated runoff was flowing off the site and into the roadside ditch, then south to Bear Creek.” Portions of the field did not meet specifications for winter application. Waste storage structures were full; Hartland Farms stated they “had no choice but to land apply manure.” DEQ Notice Letter (March 27, 2008)
March 2008 – 315 – Bakerlads Farms cited for illegal discharge of agricultural waste to South Branch of the River Raisin, after application of manure on frozen, snow-covered ground. DEQ notes “the runoff was brown in color, had a distinct manure odor, and manure solids were observed floating on the water.” DEQ Notice Letter (March 27, 2008)
February 2008 – 307-314 – DEQ cites Waldron Dairy (Vreba-Hoff owned) for 8 violations of its General Permit and 2003 Consent Decree, including 2 illegal discharges of manure wastewater to Bean Creek Watershed after application to frozen, snow-covered ground. DEQ Notice Letter (March 10, 2008)
January 2008 – 301-306 – DEQ cites Waldron Dairy for multiple violations of its Consent Decree, including 6 unlawful discharges from the facility: discharges of silage leachate; discharge to Oates Drain of contaminated storm water from sand bedding piles; discharge of animal manure pooled next to a catch basin draining to Oates Drain; sediment discharge at several point to the storm water system leading to Oates Drain. DEQ Notice of Noncompliance (January 18, 2008)
January 2008 – 300 -DEQ warns Vreba-Hoff about illegality of discharging contaminated storm water, impounded at the US-127 facility. DEQ also orders Vreba-Hoff “to cease the discharge immediately,” from a tile at South Medina Drain, first cited as illegally discharging in October 2007. DEQ Letters (January 18, 2008 and January 22, 2008)
December 2007 – 296-299 – Vreba-Hoff fined $8,000 for dam safety violations under a Consent Agreement with DEQ’s Land and Water Management Division, after construction of four waste lagoons/dams at the dairy facilities. DEQ Land & Water Management Consent Agreement (December 3, 2007)
November 2007 – 295 – DEQ details violations in Vreba-Hoff Monthly Progress Reports, including “a clear and flagrant violation of the ‘truck’ provisions of the Interim Order.” DEQ notes that Vreba-Hoff’s “agreement to truck excess waste in lieu of cow removal is an important component of the Interim Order,” and “Vreba-Hoff’s failure to truck waste throughout the month of September” was not addressed as required. DEQ Letter (November 14, 2007)
October 2007 – 294 – Vreba-Hoff cited for illegal discharge (apparently long-term and on-going) into South Medina Drain. DEQ samples show high levels of nitrate and E. coli in effluent from a tile coming “directly from the facility production area” and located on the south side of the headwaters of this Bean Creek tributary. This tile was not dye-tested as required by the 2004 Consent Judgment. Vreba-Hoff has until Dec. 28, 2007 to complete dye-testing. DEQ Notice Letter (December 7, 2007)
October 2007 – 286-293 – DEQ cites Vreba-Hoff for numerous violations of its Interim Consent Order, including land application of wastes to fields without sufficient phosphorus data; land application of contaminated sand bedding, bypassing sand separation requirement; improper composting — “the current practice of simply piling solids and later land applying certainly does not meet the industry standards for composting”; removal of check dams, failure of silt fencing, expired construction storm water permit; failure to transport off-site the waste of “excess” cows at the dairy operations. DEQ Notice Letter (October 26, 2007)
September 2007 – 285 – Vreba-Hoff manure lagoon overflows at Vreba-Hoff 1, discharges manure into South Medina Drain on Sept 9. DEQ water tests find E. coli levels at 370,000/100ml in the headwaters of South Medina Drain; 2 days later, E. coli is still greater than 10,000/100 ml. On Sept 10, DEQ finds concrete lagoon still over freeboard; DEQ orders Vreba-Hoff “to take actions to prevent further discharges from this structure.” DEQ finds the CAFO is “1,687,000 gal. over freeboard capacity in their storage structures.” DEQ also notes, “They have not removed cows from the facility as required by the CO [Consent Order] if they go over freeboard.”
August 2007 – 281-284 – Vreba-Hoff cited for multiple discharges on August 28, including sediment discharge to South Medina Drain, multiple deficient freeboard markers, discharge of sand solids and feed waste to Durfee Creek Extension during recent rain, failure to meet required deadlines for manure processing, failure to meet required deadlines for sand separation devices. DEQ Notice Letter (August 31, 2007)
August 2007 – 279, 280 – DEQ notes “a grave situation” at Vreba-Hoff facilities: “The situation at Vreba-Hoff’s two Hudson-area dairies appears to have deteriorated substantially this week.” DEQ cites the failure of a concrete storage structure at V-H 1 on Wed., August 23. One concrete wall had cracked and leaned in, allowing manure to leak to an open trench, a discharge to groundwater. In addition, “nearly all of the storage structures currently in use at both dairy operations are at or exceeding freeboard requirements.” In response, Vreba-Hoff illegally discharged wastewater into the newly-constructed EarthMentor treatment cell. DEQ Letter (August 24, 2007)
August 2007 – 272 – 278 – In a letter to Willy van Bakel, who has replaced Stephen VanderHoff at Vreba-Hoff, DEQ cites 9 pages of non-compliance issues, including the discharges of July 28, the lack of required construction stormwater permits, problems with soil borings for the Earthmentor system showing groundwater less than 2 feet below the bottom of the lagoon, extensive missing data on fields, missing data on land application, applying manure in the rain. DEQ does not levy penalties stipulated in the Interim Order “because of the extensive requirements.” Although the letter also notes that DEQ will “carefully track all requirements” and “in consultation with the Department of the Attorney General, evaluate the necessity for stipulated penalties.” DEQ Interim Order letter (August 7, 2007)
August 2007 – 271 – State Line Farms cited for violation of air quality law, “unreasonable odors.” DEQ Letter of Violation (August 10, 2007)
July 2007 – 269, 270 – Vreba-Hoff cited for discharges on July 28 to South Medina Drain after failure of silt fencing at construction site of new treatment lagoon. DEQ inspection report also notes a manure transfer structure was overflowing into a storm sewer emptying into South Medina Drain, and bedding, feed, and other waste piled along the drain and down the embankment. DEQ Interim Order letter (August 7, 2007)
May 2007 – 268 – State Line Farms cited for “unreasonable odors” and air emission violations. DEQ Letter of Violation (May 15, 2007)
April 2007 – 246 – 267 – State Line Farms cited for mutliple air pollution violations during the period Aug 1, 2006 through April 11, 2007, when “distinct, definite, and often objectionable odors were detected” during investigations of 21 air pollution complaints. The emissions were found to be “of sufficient intensity and duration as to constitute a violation of Rule 901,” which states in part: “A person shall not cause or permit the emission of an air contaminant in quantities that cause injurious effect to human health…or unreasonable interference with the comfortable enjoyment of life and property.” State Line also cited for noncompliance with its own plan to install a water atomizing spray on all tunnel exhaust fans by Feb. 9, 2007. One spray was installed on April 11, 2007, more than 2 months late; State Line consultant told DEQ others would be installed “within a few days.” DEQ Notice Letter — Third Letter of Violation (April 24, 2007)
April 2007 – 241 – 245 – Vreba-Hoff cited for multiple violations, some occuring over several days, inlcuding discharge of waste to Durfee Creek after pivot-irrigation of liquid manure. The stream “was very dark in color and had a strong agricultural waste odor…Several areas of obvious overland flow and erosion from the irrigated field to the creek were noted. Very little to no vegetated buffer exists along the creek.” DEQ noted the pivot irrigator “travels through a low wet area where irrigation of waste easily flows into the creek.” Leachate continues to discahrge through berms at feed bunker. At another location, South Medina Drain, DEQ discovers unauthorized berms in the stream and is informed of a manure discharge through field tiles last fall (2006). Vreba-Hoff had cited for failure to report this discharge. In addition, the illegal berms had been opened up, allowing large amounts of sediment to discharge and flow downstream, also a violation of Michigan law. DEQ also noted manure haulers loading untreated manure and applying it to fields west of Hudson — application of untreated waste is prohibited under the Consent Judgment. Vreba-Hoff ordered to: 1)immediately cease pivot irrigation along Durfee Creek until setbacks and buffers are established 2)immidately cease all land application of untreated manure 3)immediately remove contaminated water and leachate at feed bunker 4)immediately prevent further sediment from entering South Medina Drain 5)specifically identify individuals responsible for management of waste DEQ Notice Letter (April 11, 2007)
March 2007 – 239, 240 – Vreba-Hoff cited again for violations, including unlawful discharge of leachate from the feed bunker to a grassy area designed to transport only clean water, and violation of freeboard requirements of leachate storage structure. Vreba-Hoff ordered to berm feed bunker area to stop discharge. DEQ Notice Letter (March 21, 2007)
March 2007 – 237-238– Vreba-Hoff cited for an unlawful dry weather discharge on March 14, with contaminated stormwater and leachate overflowing on east side (again) at Dillon Hwy facility to wetlands to Durfee Creek. Freeboard violation noted on March 15. DEQ Post Inspection Reports (March 16 and March 20, 2007)
February-March 2007 – 224-236 – Vreba-Hoff cited for at least 13 violations on Feb 26, March 1, March 5, and March 7, including 4 unlawful discharges, 3 at the Dillon Hwy facility: overflow of leachate “caused by someone pushing out the bermed area to the east of the bunker so that leachate could flow out”; overflow of leachate to the south to wetlands connecting to Durfee Creek; and “careless transfer of waste to the satellite storage” on Packard Rd causing a spill discharging to wetlands connecting to Bean Creek. The fuel tank at that location had no secondary storage and spilled fuel was noted during inspection. At the US-127 facility, a leachate structure was flooding into the feed bunker area which was overflowing into the stormwater conveyance. “It appeared that no abatement of this discharge had been attempted.” DEQ Notice Letter (March 14, 2007)
January 2007 – 223 – Vreba-Hoff cited for Jan. 10 unlawful discharge of waste to Durfee Creek, after spray-irrigation to fields. DEQ Post Inspection Report (January 19, 2007)
January 2007 – 222 – Vreba-Hoff lagoons full, at the point of breaching, the CAFO begins massive emergency hauling, pivot-spraying manure from both facilities to numerous locations on Jan 9, in violation of consent judgment prohibiting winter application. Black water discharges to Durfee Creek on Dillon Hwy, Jan. 10.
December, 2006 – 221 – Vreba-Hoff storage lagoons over capacity, the North Concrete lagoon at Vreba-Hoff 2 “clearly exceeds the operational volume.” DEQ Notice Letter (December 28, 2006)
November 2006 – 200-220 – Vreba-Hoff cited for substantial violations in letters from both DEQ and the Michigan Attorney General. DEQ cites the unlawful discharge of wastewater to Covell Drain, a tributary of Bean Creek, after field application on Nov. 25, a discharge with significant odor and “unnatural turbidity, color, floating solids, suspended solids and deposits.” E. coli tests reached more than 6 times the MI water standard. The Attorney General notes “your management of the CAFO waste generated at your two dairies…has deteriorated substantially over the last several months” and cites “numerous violations at both of your farms…the apparent failures of the Press Treatment System and resulting accumulation of excessive amounts of CAFO waste, treated and untreated, in various storage structures.” The letter includes a list of documented violations, more than a dozen in 6 areas — Unlawful Discharges (Nov. 25 discharge to Covell Drain) Press Treatment System (Operations & Maintenance Guide fails to contain information required, specific to V-H; Sand Manure Separation device not installed) Compost Pads (Manure-laden sand improperly stored on compost pads; contaminated runoff from pads not treated) Waste Storage Structures (overfull, violation of freeboard requirements; fixed markers not installed) Storm Water Management (V-H violated deadlines in implementation; lack of maintenance and “general co-mingling of contaminated and uncontaminated storm water”; dye-testing incomplete) Recordkeeping & Reporting (tile lines not inspected as required; freeboard violations unreported; no required monthly progress reports since June 15 period). DEQ Notice of NonCompliance Letter (December 1, 2006) Department of Attorney General Letter (December 1, 2006)
November 2006 – 196-199– Hartland Farms cited for Nov. 25 discharge of manure through field tiles “to an unnamed tributary to the River Raisin.” Water samples showed “obvious signs of manure contamintation” including mutliple water quality violations: suspended solids, strong manure odor, and dark coloration, as well as “floating solids and foam.” DEQ water tests found E. coli counts as high as 130,000/100ml. DEQ Notice Letter (December 12, 2006)
November 2006 – 186-195 – Mericam cited for “unlawful discharge of manure, sediment, wastewater, and contaminated stormwater” on Nov 7 to Oats Drain and Toad Creek. Investigatin found numerous other violations of both Michigan law and the Consent Decree — buffers not maintained, no notification of discharge, inadequate management practices, odor in discharge, E. coli in discharge reaching “significantly higher numbers than the limit” (DEQ sample in Oats Drain: E. coli 340,000/100ml). DEQ Notice Letter (November 30, 2006)
October 2006 – DEQ cites repeated failures of Vreba-Hoff’s Enhanced Waste Treatment System. The system was “not in operation” during numerous inspections, and DEQ notes “…based on your estimate of production, you should be running the system no less than 12 hours a day, 364 days a year in order to treat all manure currently being produced annually.” DEQ letter (October 10, 2006)
September 2006 -185– DEQ investigation of Hartland Farms finds land application on fields prohibited in last known Comphrehensive Nutrient Management Plan (CNMP), and further finds CNMP update required by October 2005 (almost a year ago) still had not been submitted. DEQ letter asks Hartland Farms to submit CNMP. DEQ letter (September 22, 2006)
August 2006 -184 -DEQ inspection of Hartland Farms find no current copy of Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan (CNMP) available — a requirement of their NPDES permit; also finds recordkeeping did not include, as required, weekly waste storage structure inspections, manifests recording manure sold or given away.
August 2006 – 157-183 – State Line Farms cited in Second Letter of Violation from DEQ for numerous, repeated air violations from Dec 28, 2005 and continuing throughout 2006: Jan 3, 11, and 16; Feb 16 and 24; March 18; April 6, 17, 18, 19, 20, 28, 29, 30; May 1, 2, 8, and 10; June 2, 10, and 14; and July 12, 13, 14, 18, and 19. DEQ Second Letter of Violation of Rule 901 (August 1, 2006)
August 2006 – 156 – Vreba-Hoff cited by U.S. Food and Drug Administration for numerous food safety and animal/drug violations: An FDA investigation at Vreba-Hoff on Dillon Hwy “found that you hold animals under conditions that are so inadequate that medicated animals bearing potentially harmful drug residues are likely to enter the food supply.” Vreba-Hoff was cited for offering “an animal for sale for slaughter as food that was adulterated” with penicillin. Violations were discovered in tests by the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service. Previous tests found oxytetracycline in cow tissues. “In regard to this oxytetracycline residue, our investigator noted that you administered an approved animal drug via a route, intrauterine, which was not indicated in the labeling, without benefit of a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship and that you failed to maintain adequate treatment records.” FDA letter (August 14, 2006 – see full letter)
March 2006 – 155 – Mericam cited for contaminated discharge following application of liquid manure before rainfall. DEQ water samples March 10 showed “an elevated level of E. coli bacteria, ammonia, and nitrate, indicative of livestock manures.” The letter notes “your current practices do not meet the standards of your draft permit. Other concerns cited include “a lack of storage capacity for manure and waste,” and need for an updated Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan. DEQ letter (April 7, 2006)
November 2005 – 154 – DEQ inspection of Bleich Dairy finds “manure accumulations” outside a storage structure, no containment for contaminated drainage from calf hutches. DEQ Letter (November 7, 2005)
July – November, 2005 – 145-153 – following investigation of numerous air quality complaints over several months, DEQ cites State Line Farms for violation of the federal Clean Air Act and Michigan air pollution law (Rule 901 – “A person shall not cause or permit the emission of an air contaminant in quantities that cause injurious effect to human health, property, or the unreasonable interference with the comfortable enjoyment of life and property”). 9 inspections between July and November found “strong” or “very strong” odors, burning sensation in the nose, “objectionable hog waste odors,” etc. State Line must report by Jan 6, 2006 on the causes of the violations and on remedial action taken to prevent reoccurence of emissions. DEQ Letter of Violation (hand-delivered December 8, 2005; State Line had refused to accept Letter of Violation sent Nov. 10, 2005)
July, 2005 – MDA finds State Line Farms “does not conform to the Site Selection GAAMPs” (does not meet setback requirements – too close to residences) and rejects the facility’s Odor Management Plan. MDA refers State Line to DEQ for evaluation and enforcement of complaints. MDA Letter to DEQ (July 7, 2005)
June, 2005 – 144 – Vreba-Hoff discharges black manure water to South Medina Drain through field tiles after pivot irrigation of liquid manure on growing corn. Dissolved Oxygen tested at 0.5 mg/L, well below fish-kill levels. DEQ water samples found E. coli as high as 45,000/100ml. DEQ Notice Letter (August 5, 2005)
April, 2005 – 143 – Bleich Dairy cited for overdue Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan. DEQ Notice Letter (April 26, 2005)
February, 2005 – 142 – Bakerlads Farms is cited for manure discharge to Dowling County Drain leading to South Branch of the River Raisin, following application to frozen ground. DEQ reports “manure laden runoff water” that was “severely contaminated.” DEQ Notice Letter (March 21, 2005)
February, 2005 – 140,141– Stoutcrest is cited for runoff of liquid manure at multiple sites draining to Hazen Creek, River Raisin Watershed. DEQ water tests find E. coli levels as high as 101,000/100ml. DEQ Notice Letter (April 7, 2005)
February, 2005 – DEQ disapproves Vreba-Hoff’s draft plan for wastewater treatment, saying it falls “far short” of what is required under the 2004 Consent Order. DEQ cites numerous insufficiencies, including no seal by a professional engineer, no phosphorous treatment as required, no transfer system description, no sand-separation component, no piping or control details, no description of how untreated waste will be applied, inadequate sampling parameters and plan, no quality assurance plan. (DEQ letters, February 18, 2005 and March 3, 2005)
January, 2005 – 138,139 – Mericam is cited for multiple discharges, including runoff “severely contaminated with agriculture waste” flowing to Oates Drain, and runoff from an uncovered compost pile containing “numerous animal carcasses” also draining to Oates Drain. DEQ water samples finds E. coli counts as high as 160,000/100ml. Pursuant to a previous Consent Order, Mericam is charged $6,000 in stipulated penalties for these 2005 discharges, and also ordered to pay the $8,750 in stipulated penalties as yet unpaid from 2004. DEQ Notice Letter (February 15, 2005)
December, 2004 – 137 – DEQ cites Hartland Farms for discharge through field tiles to Henning Drain, after field application of liquid manure and dragline failure leading to manure spill over tile. Stipulated penalty of $2,500 levied as required by Consent Decree. (DEQ Notice Letter, January 13, 2005)
December, 2004 – 136 – Marvin Farms is cited for barnyard runoff to Shaw Drain in the River Raisin Watershed. DEQ water samples find E. coli counts as high as 600,000/100ml. An NRCS-designed grassed filter and catch-basin enable runoff from barnyard and bunker area. (DEQ Notice Letter, January 13, 2005)
November, 2004 – 135 – Vander Hoff Haley Dairy is cited for a discharge to Rice Lake Drain on Nov. 28. The DEQ letter discusses a “control structure” placed in the tile leading to Rice Lake Drain. DEQ “is particularly concerned about the potential discharge of pollutants once the control structure is opened, as any remaining liquid in the tile would discharge to Rice Lake Drain.” (DEQ Notice Letter, January 13, 2005)
November, December, 2004 – 133,134 – New Flevo cited for tile discharging brown water with “manure odor” to a tributary of Wallace Creek on both Nov. 28 and Dec 20, 2004. DEQ water samples find E. coli counts as high as 56,000/100ml in the tributary. In addition, the letter notes that “all of the concerns in our June 18, 2003 [1 1/2 yrs ago], letter remain.” (DEQ Notice Letter, January 13, 2005)
October, 2004 -131,132 – DEQ District Compliance Agreement (DCA) with Bleich Dairy, Hudson, orders a certified Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan (CNMP), long-term corrections “to address contaminated storm water runoff from barnyard and feed lots,” as well as contaminated runoff from the silage/feed storage area. Corrections had not been made since previous Notice Letters. (District Compliance Agreement, October 8, 2004)
September, 2004 – Site inspection of Vreba-Hoff facility by Tetra Tech MPS finds waste located in grassed areas between barns, on the pavement, in the calf holding area, and from equipment. “Bacteria are most likely available in standing water found around the site due to storm water contamination.” The report concludes that a rainfall event could carry “storm water contaminated with waste materials to the outfall located at Meridian Road, where the MDEQ has previously indentified high levels of E-coli.” (Tetra Tech, Site Inspection of Vreba-Hoff Dairy II, September, 2004)
July, August, 2004 – 129,130 – Vander Hoff Haley Dairy cited for multiple manure discharges to Bovee County Drain at Whaley Rd. Water with “strong manure odor” was discharging on July 31 after field application of liquid manure. During follow-up inspection on Aug. 4, DEQ found contaminated brown water was again discharging to Bovee Drain. (DEQ Notice Letter, August 19, 2004)
July, 2004 – 128 – Region 5 EPA inspection on July 15, 2004, at New Flevo finds the banks of a new lagoon “deeply eroded.” Inspection notes that silage runoff and possible stormwater discharges “to the unnamed tributary to Wallace Drain.” (EPA Region 5 Letter, November 8, 2004)
July, 2004 – 127 – DEQ District Compliance Agreement (DCA) with Bruinsma Dairy, Morenci, orders “long-term corrections to address contaminated storm water runoff from the feed storage area.” (DCA, July 6, 2004)
July, 2004 – 125,126 – EPA Region 5 inspections at Vreba-Hoff on July 13, 2004, find multiple pollution concerns, including contaminated runoff from calf hutches, and “apparent seeps in the new silage runoff storage pit…there is either a very high water table, which can impact the integrity of the liner, or the structure may be leaking, or both.” (EPA Inspection Letter, July 16, 2004)
July, 2004 – 124 – State Line Farms, Morenci, cited by MDA Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division for sending workers into fields treated with Amistar Fungicide and Champ Dry Prill “prior to the termination of the 48 hour restricted entry interval (REI).” MDA claims it “has initiated the appropriate enforcement action in this case.” (MDA Disposition Letter, August 12, 2004)
July, 2004 – 123 – Vreba-Hoff cited for manure discharge from field tile to Siegel Drain at Tamrack & Tuttle Rds, St. Joseph River watershed. E. coli counts in the Tamarack/Tuttle tile reached 110,000/100 ml. (DEQ Notice Letter, August 27, 2004)
June, 2004 – 121,122 – DEQ cites Vreba-Hoff for multiple violations, including manure discharging to Siegel Drain at Tamarack Rd (June 11); contaminated stormwater discharging at US-127 to Fisher Lake (June 10). In addition, DEQ notes that “numerous water samples collected from the storm water discharge channel over the past five months have revealed high concentrations of pathogens and nutrients.” DEQ orders Vreba-Hoff to dye test facility drains and evaluate potential sources of pollution to the storm water system. (DEQ Notice Letter, August 2, 2004)
June, 2004 – 120 – DEQ District Compliance Agreement (DCA) with Stoutcrest Farms, including orders for CNMP and a silage runoff containment system, to address contaminated storm water runoff and multiple discharge violations. DCA cites violations from 2001 to 2003, including ongoing runoff from the feed storage area to a tributary of Hazen Creek on May 5, 2003. (DCA Letter, June 16, 2004)
June, 2004 – 119 -Michigan Dept. of Agriculture is asked to inspect Vreba-Hoff after officials find blood, flies, and “fluids…exposed to the surface” from buried dead animals. MDA inspection on June 11 finds “blood-tinged” water pooled in low spots, and “parts of some bones were visible on the surface.” (MDA Details of Investigation, June 14, 2004)
April, May, 2004 – 113-118 – Vreba-Hoff cited for multiple violations following DEQ inspections to evaluate water quality impacts from liquid manure applications. Field tiles were found discharging manure water into both the Bean Creek Watershed and the St. Joseph River Watershed, including May 2 discharge to Siegel Drain (after liquid manure application along Lickley Rd), and May 10 discharges to the tributary to Fisher Lake (Donelly Rd) and again to Siegel Drain (Tamarack Rd). DEQ also found Vreba-Hoff was discharging contaminated stormwater from the facility retention basin to a tributary of Fisher Lake (US-127) on April 21, May 11, and May 21. The Vreba-Hoff stormwater basin is designed for uncontaminated rainwater only. DEQ notes, “Numerous water samples collected from the storm water discharge channel over the past four months have revealed high concentrations of pathogens and nutrients indicative of a direct discharge of polluting materials.” (DEQ Notice Letter, June 3, 2004)
March, 2004 – 112 – DEQ describes dark brown manure water and foam discharging from a field tile to Lime Lake Inlet in Bean Creek Watershed after land application of hog waste from William White Farms. (DEQ Notice Letter, April 20, 2004)
March, 2004 -102-111– DEQ cites Vreba-Hoff on Dillon Hwy for multiple manure discharges on multiple days, and a diesel fuel spill. On March 1, 2, and 5, DEQ found discharges from numerous locations in a field where “several inches of manure and waste feed” had been spread, with manure laden runoff draining to adjacent woodlots, and through a channel to a wooded wetland draining to Durfee Creek. “The channel was receiving both surface and sub-surface tile flow from the field.” On March 1, diesel fuel was observed discharging from a field tile into Medina Drain (fuel overflowed booms for 3 weeks before the drain was dammed to contain fuel). (DEQ Notice Letter, April 27, 2004)
March, 2004 – DEQ Enforcement Unit warns Vreba-Hoff and Mericam Farms that the storage structures at the CAFOs “have very little capacity remaining, and therefore, could overflow should weather conditions prevent land application of wastes this spring.” DEQ requires both CAFOs to submit weekly reports detailing waste storage capacity and land application activities, through June, 2004. (DEQ Enforcement Unit letters, March 5, 2004)
March, 2004 -101 – manure from Ries feedlot runoff on Wisner Hwy, Tipton, discharging through a tile to a catch basin to Wilson-Bowen County Drain. (MDA letter, March 12, 2004)
February, March 2004 -89-100– New Flevo cited for multiple discharges on multiple days. After land application, manure discharges on Feb. 21, March 1, 2, and 5, from two fields on Hoddinott Rd to Penrod County Drain; on March 1, 2, and 5, from a field on Bates Hwy to Gregg County tile and Hazen Creek; and on March 25, manure laden water drains from a field on Forrister Rd “in numerous locations” to Hazen Creek. (DEQ Notice Letter, April 9, 2004)
February, March 2004 – 76-88 – Vreba Hoff on US-127 cited for multiple violations on numerous days, including discharges of liquid manure through field tile to a tributary of Fisher Lake on Feb. 20, discharge of agricultural waste through stormwater impoundment on Feb. 20 and March 4, also draining to Fisher Lake; and discharging manure-laden water to Lime Lake Inlet East on Feb. 21, 25, March 4, 5, 15, 25. On March 1, 2, 5, and 15, manure runoff from field application was discharging from a field on Elm Rd to Lime Lake Inlet. (DEQ Notice Letter, April 27, 2004)
February, 2004 -75 – Hardy Dairy discharges milkhouse wastewater through tile to Evans Creek. (DEQ Letter, April 19, 2004)
December, 2003 – 70-74 – liquid manure discharges confirmed “at numerous locations” from Vreba-Hoff field applications during the Christmas holiday. DEQ inspections Dec. 23 and Dec. 30 found “manure laden water was discharging through field tile as well as across the surface of the ground” to Lime Lime Inlet. (DEQ Notice Letter, January 16, 2004)
December, 2003 – 69 – Ries Dairy manure discharges through tile to county drain; manure storage above the recommended freeboard level. (MDA Letter, December 23, 2003)
December, 2003 – 68 – VanderHoff Haley Dairy manure pit overflows, drains into a catch-basin at the facility and through tile into Rice Lake Drain in River Raisin Watershed. DEQ water samples in Rice Lake Drain at Haley Road found E. coli bacteria counts as high as 104,000/100ml. (DEQ Notice Letter, December 3, 2003)
October, 2003 – 67 – State Line Farms, Morenci, cited for unpermitted livestock incinerator for mortalities of hog operation. (DEQ Notice Letter, February 20, 2004)
October, 2003 -66 – Warner Farms, Tipton, cited for discharging silage leachate from feed storage area through Rexford County tile to Fisk Drain in the River Raisin Watershed. (DEQ Notice Letter, November 4, 2003)
October, 2003 – 65 – Jelsma/Mericam discharges manure through field tiles to Bennett Drain after land application during rain. “Manure laden storm water was observed flowing across the surface of the field…Water flowing into Bennett Drain on the east side of Highway 127 was brown and had a strong odor of manure.” DEQ water samples on 10-14 found E. coli count of 940,000/100 ml; on 10-17 E. coli count in Bennett Drain at US-127 was 660,000. (DEQ Notice Letter, December 2, 2003)
September, 2003 – 64 -New Flevo Dairy cited for manure/feed runoff to Wallace Drain in the River Raisin Watershed. E. coli levels reach 7,600,000/100ml, the highest levels yet. (DEQ Notice Letter, September 30, 2003)
September, 2003 – 62,63 – VanderHoff Haley Dairy cited by DEQ for multiple discharges, including septic wastes and silage leachate, into Rice Lake Drain, confirmed during 2 inspections Sept. 15 and Sept. 22. E. coli levels reach 1,110,000/100 ml on Sept. 15 and 5,200,000/100 ml on Sept. 22. (DEQ Notice Letter, September 29, 2003)
September, 2003 – 61 – Wolfland Farms, Seneca Hwy, discharges feedlot runoff and septic waste through tiles to Van Sickle Drain and Silver Creek. (DEQ Notice Letter forthcoming)
August, 2003 – 60 -Hartland Farms animal mortality “not being managed according to the Bodies of Dead Animals Act.” MDA inspector found “carcasses of dead farm animals half buried” in a pile of old silage. “Leachate was pooling around the pile and there were bones strewn about as if dogs or other animals had pulled them out. The pile was not on an impervious surface and it did not appear as if it was a prepared site for composting.” (MDA Special Report on August 21 inspection)
August, 2003 – 59 – Hardy Dairy, Tipton, discharges milkhouse waste water through a pipe to Evans Creek in the River Raisin Watershed. DEQ water samples found BOD levels at 5400 mg/L (above 15 is of concern), ammonia levels at 220 mg/L (above 0.10 is of concern). (DEQ Notice Letter, September 17, 2003)
July, 2003 – 58 -Root Farms, Ingall Hwy, discharges manure and silage runoff to tiles draining to Lime Creek.
July, 2003 – 57 – Vreba-Hoff cited for liquid manure discharge through field tiles to a tributary of Durfee Lake, after liquid manure application to a field for 5 days. (DEQ Notice Letter, August 6, 2003)
July, 2003 – 56 – Vreba-Hoff cited for manure discharge to South Medina Drain through tiles after field application of liquid manure during the week of June 30, 2003. (DEQ Notice Letter, July 16, 2003)
June, 2003 – 55– Jelmsa/Mericam cited for manure discharge to Timma Drain and Lime Creek, after field application of liquid manure discharges through tiles. DEQ finds Dissolved Oxygen at 0.9 mg/L in Timma Drain. (DEQ Notice Letter, June 16, 2003)
March, 2003 –50-54– Vreba-Hoff cited for numerous water violations, Feb. 16, March 12, March 16, March 19, and March 21. Notice Letter cites concerns about manure storage capacities and Veba-Hoff’s management of contaminated stormwater. DEQ inspection finds two huge basins -approximately 8 million gallons – of contaminated stormwater temporarily dammed at the facility. DEQ orders Vreba-Hoff to provide a “complete and accurate” assessment of storage capacity, a plan for disposal of the contaminated stormwater, and a plan for managing liquid manure through the next 3 months. Waste pits are so near overflow that Vreba-Hoff has been transporting manure from facility 2 to the lagoon at facility 1 on Dillon Hwy. (DEQ Notice Letter, March 28, 2003)
March, 2003 – 49 – New Flevo discharges liquid manure after application to frozen ground, with discharges through field tiles to Wallace Creek. (DEQ Notice Letter, May 16, 2003)
March, 2003 – 48 – Vanderhoff Haley Dairy discharges manure into Rice Lake Drain on Haley Rd, after application of liquid manure to frozen fields with flow control structures and tile inlets. At tile outlet, inflatable tile-plug fails and manure discharges to Drain. Case sent to DEQ Enforcement Unit. (DEQ Notice Letter, April 2, 2003)
March, 2003 – 47 – Vreba-Hoff discharges liquid manure to a tributary of Bean Creek, after application to frozen ground at Bothwell and Packard Rds.
March, 2003 – 43-46 – Vreba-Hoff cited for multiple violations. Vreba-Hoff discharges manure into South Medina Drain, Ingall Hwy, an ongoing problem since last year’s discharge (May 2002) when a manure dragline broke, and a makeshift dam was constructed in the Drain. For almost a year, contaminated water collected behind the dam. In February, DEQ finds the integrity of the dam “questionable.” Seepage occurrs through and around the dam. Vreba-Hoff spray-irrigates liquids on tiled fields which drain back to the Drain. DEQ notes, “Your statement that the field in question was not tiled, calls into question your knowledge of the lands under your management.” On March 19 manure liquids overtop the dam. On March 20, Vreba-Hoff illegally dumps numerous loads of silage leachate onto fields draining to South Medina Drain. Leachate enters field tiles, with outlet to South Medina Drain. DEQ finds the outlet plugged “causing the liquids to purge through the ground surface and flow across the field into South Medina Drain.” DEQ finds water quality violations on March 10, March 17, March 19, March 21. On March 24, DEQ orders pumping of all contaminated water behind the dam (1 million gallons) to the lagoon and removal of the dam. DEQ cites Vreba-Hoff 1 for multiple days of violations. (DEQ Notice Letter, April 3, 2003)
March, 2003 – 39-42 – Jelsma/Mericam cited for multiple days of violations. Mericam discharges liquid manure to Toad Creek after application to frozen ground, with ponding of manure in the field, runoff to adjacent property, draining to Farnam County Drain and Toad Creek. DEQ E. coli samples at Coman Rd reach 1,340,000/100 ml. Inspections on March 4, March 5, March 7, and March 10 find violations of water quality standards. (DEQ Notice Letter, April 2, 2003)
February, 2003 – 38 – Vreba-Hoff again discharges milk wastes into drain leading to Fisher Lake, just days after a consent judgment fining Vreba-Hoff for multiple violations ($15,000 each for Vreba-Hoff 1 and 2). In March, DEQ files an Administrative Consent Order (ACO), requiring a $3,100 civil penalty from Vreba-Hoff for February discharge, and stipulated penalties for future discharges. (DEQ Notice Letters March 3, 2003, and March 12, 2003)
November, 2002 – 37– Vreba-Hoff discharges milkhouse wastes and flushwater into drain leading to Fisher Lake in the Bean/Tiffin Watershed. (DEQ Notice Letter, Dec. 5, 2002)
November, 2002 – 36– Bakerlads Dairy on Cadmus Rd discharges manure through field tiles to South Branch of the River Raisin. Dissolved Oxygen level is 1.9 mg/L (3 mg/L or less can be fatal to aquatic species). (DEQ Notice Letter, Dec. 4, 2002)
September, 2002 –35—Hartland Farms discharges manure to Henning Drain and Bear Creek, the inlet to Lake Hudson, Lake Hudson State Recreation Area. (DEQ Notice Letter, Oct. 31, 2002)
May, 2002 – 34 – Vreba-Hoff on Dillon Hwy discharges manure to Medina Drain after dragline breakage in a field on Ingall Hwy. (DEQ Certified Letter, June 5, 2002)
May, 2002 – 33 -Vreba-Hoff on US-127 applies liquid manure to a field, causing manure discharge through field tiles to a tributary of Bean Creek. (DEQ Notice Letter, June 5, 2002)
April, 2002 – 31,32 – Vreba-Hoff on Dillon Hwy discharges silage laden storm water to a pond draining to a wetland draining to Durfee Creek, a tributary of Lime and Bean Creeks. Inspection by DEQ also finds large piles of “waste feed and several cow composting piles” with seepage to a wetland leading to Durfee Creek. Vreba-Hoff cited for 2 illegal discharges. (DEQ Notice Letter, April 30, 2002)
April, 2002 –30 – Vreba-Hoff on US-127 discharges silage leachate into Lime Lake Inlet East. (DEQ Notice Letter, April 15,2002)
March, 2002 – 27-29 – Bleich Dairy is cited with multiple violations of Inland Lakes and Streams, and Wetlands Protection parts of Michigan’s Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, after dredging a natural stream, placing dredge spoils into regulated wetlands, and dredging ditches “apparently to drain the wetlands.” (DEG Notice Letter, March 22, 2002)
February, 2002 –26 – Vreba-Hoff discharges manure, runoff from manure through field tile, entering Medina Drain and Bean Creek. After multiple discharges, Vreba-Hoff case has been referred to Enforcement Unit of DEQ. (DEQ Notice Letter, February 28, 2002)
January, 2002 – 24,25 – Bleich Dairy on US-127 is cited by DEQ for multiple violations, after inspection by DEQ and EPA finds silage discharging to a ponded area, and manure and feed contaminated runoff from barn area discharging to a tributary of St. Joseph Creek in the Bean/Tiffin watershed. (DEQ Notice Letter, February 11, 2002)
November, 2001 – 23 – Jelsma/Mericam Farms discharges manure, runoff from hayfield, into Oats drain leading to Toad Creek, which enters Lime Creek, then Bean Creek. After multiple discharges, Jelsma Farms notified the case has been referred to Enforcement Unit. (DEQ Notice Letter, January 16, 2002)
November, 2001 – 22 – Hartland Farms discharges manure into Childs Drain at M-34 east of Hudson, leading to Bean Creek near Lawrence Road. DEQ water samples showed the highest E. coli counts seen so far in discharges: 570,000/100 ml – 570 times the Michigan Water Standard for partial body contact. After multiple discharges from Hartland Farms, DEQ District Office sends Notice of NonCompliance Letter stating Hartland Farms violations “are being reviewed for possible escalated enforcement.” (DEQ Notice of NonCompliance Letter, December 17, 2001)
July, 2001 –21—Vreba-Hoff Dairy on Dillon Hwy spray-irrigates manure on standing corn and discharges manure into Medina Drain, leading to Bean Creek. The Drain is dammed at Ingall Hwy, with orders to pump polluted water. (DEQ Notice Letter, August 3, 2001)
July, 2001 – 18-20—Vanderhoff Haley Dairy is cited by DEQ for several ongoing discharges and other health violations, including back-flush from water filters discharging to floor drain leading to Rice Lake Drain; silage runoff and calf hutch runoff discharging to Rice Lake Drain; septic system bypassed with human waste discharging to manure pit. (DEQ Notice Letter, August 3, 2001)
June, 2001 – 17—Vanderhoff Haley Dairy on Haley Road discharges manure into Rice Lake County Drain adjacent to lagoon, leading to Bear Creek. The Drain is dammed to halt flow and to pump out manure. (DEQ Notice Letter, June 29, 2001)
May, 2001 –11-16—Hartland Farms discharges manure through field tiles into intermittent stream, which flows into South Branch of River Raisin. The ditch is dammed in 3 locations. Manure is pumped from the ditch for 6 days. (DEQ Letter, June 29, 2001)
February, 2001 –10—Jelsma/Mericam Farms on Camden Road spray-irrigates manure onto hedgerow, trees, and frozen ground; manure enters Bennett Drain and Lime Creek. DEQ water samples show E.coli counts of 130,000/100 ml at US-127. (DEQ Notice Letter, March 19, 2001)
February, 2001 –7,8,9 -Stoutcrest Farms on Plank Road discharges manure after application to frozen ground, with runoff into Hazen Creek. (DEQ Notice Letter, March 19, 2001) January, 2001 – Bleich discharges contaminated stormwater from feed storage area, barnyard and grazing area to tributary of St. Joseph Cr (FOIAed documents first seen in 2015: see details above, Jan 2015)
August, 2000 – 6—Warner Farms, Tipton, cited for discharging manure and whey, a “liquid industrial waste” into Rexford Drain in the River Raisin Watershed. DEQ also cited Michigan Dairy, Livonia, and Southwest Whey, Clovis, New Mexico, for illegally transporting and illegally disposing of whey at Warner Farms. (DEQ Notice Letters, October 6, 2000 to Warner Farms; December 4, 2000 to Michigan Dairy and Southwest Whey)
September, 2000 –5—Bruinsma Farms on Mulberry Road discharges silage leachate through tile, onto property of Morenci Sportsmen’s Club and into Silver Creek. (DEQ Notice Letter, Nov. 27, 2000)
September, 2000 – 3,4—Hartland Farms cited by Region 5 EPA for multiple discharge violations, including discharge of milkhouse wastes through floor drain to Rooney Drain. (EPA Administrative Order, Sept. 11, 2000)
March, 2000 – 2—Hartland Farms on Hughes Highway discharges 400,000 gal. of manure into Henning Drain and Bear Creek; after a delay of 3 wks, negotiating on the clean-up, a heavy rain washes manure and 12 million gal. of polluted water into Lake Hudson, a State Park. (DEQ Notice Letter, March 10, 2000)
February, 2000 –1—New Flevo Farms on Forrister Road illegally discharges 20,000 lbs. of milk into drain leading to Wallace Creek and Hazen Creek. (MDA Notice Letter, Feb. 15, 2000)