EPA issues administrative order to local dairy operation

Agency inspection finds numerous violations

By FAITH HUFFMAN | News-Telegram News Editor

Aug 30, 2007 - A Hopkins County dairy has been been issued an administrative order by the Environmental Protection Agency in response to citizen complaints.

The EPA announced this week that Center Point Dairy near Miller Grove had been issued a cease and desist order for violations of the federal Clean Water Act.

"The facility has been ordered to immediately stop all discharges of pollutants from its lagoon and domestic septic systems," stated a press release issued by the agency Tuesday. "The facility has been given seven days to clean up areas where domestic septic waste has pooled, and 14 days to properly remove solid waste from domestic septic tanks and repair septic waste collection systems. The dairy has also been asked to remove sediment buildup in its lagoon and restore the lagoon to proper operating conditions."

According to the EPA, citizen complaints about the discharge of pollutants into Big Creek and an unnamed tributary to Schooley Creek in Hopkins County led to the order.

In July, EPA inspected the facility and noted numerous violations requiring compliance action.

"These violations included an unauthorized discharge from the lagoon into Big Creek and unauthorized discharges from the facility’s domestic septic systems into an unnamed tributary to Schooley Creek," the EPA press release stated. "Based on these findings, the owners and operators of Center Point Dairy have been ordered to immediately take action to bring the facility into compliance with the Clean Water Act."

The investigation of the concentrated animal feeding operation, located six miles south of Brashear on FM 2653, began after Hopkins County Environmental Quality office received complaints in May from one neighbor of sewage being drained into bar ditches, and that pollutants from Center Point’s lagoon were being sprayed into the air and onto a neighbor’s property.

Since then, some 40 other area residents have submitted written complaints to the Hopkins County Environmental Quality division.

In July, the EPA sent a representative to inspect the facility, finding numerous violations. On Aug. 10, the EPA’s compliance assessment and enforcement division sent a certified letter to Center Point Dairy owners and operators informing them of the administrative order to cease and desist Clean Water Act violations.

�EPA will continue to vigorously enforce our nation�s environmental laws through effective compliance assistance and a strong enforcement program. This action will significantly reduce discharges that can have serious health effects,� EPA Regional Administrator Richard E. Greene said Tuesday.

The Hopkins County Environmental Quality office, which is responsible for inspecting septic systems in the county for compliance with state regulations, is also working with the dairy to address any problems.

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