CAFO in Muskegon issued $120k fine for improper management of animal waste in the Muskugon area for mismanagement

CAFO in Muskegon issued $120k fine for improper management of animal waste in the Muskugon area for  ...

LANSING, MI A large Muskegon County farming firm must pay a $120,000 fine and submit to increased oversight under settlement terms with state regulators and the attorney generals office, which claims the business was polluting the White River watershed with animal waste.

Attorney General Dana Nessel's office claimed last September that the Slater Farms of Holton Township improperly managed huge quantities of liquid manure, ignored state violations notices, and denied other requirements in its Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) permit.

A judge approved a consent order on September 28. Slater may avoid paying $60,000 in fine if it does not violate the law or its new permit terms for a year, according to its terms.

It is long past time CAFOs like Slater Farms begin to adhere to additional oversight and permit measures rather than using our clean water as their own personal sewer, Nessel added in a statement. The future of our environment depends on it.

Owners Allen and Aaron Slater manage about 1,500 dairy cows and 400 cattle through various affiliated operations, a number that subjects the entrepreneur's operation to stricter environmental controls designed to keep nutrients and bacteria from reaching waterways.

Livestock waste contains nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus, which may benefit crops as fertilizer but may also degrade water quality and fuel algae blooms. It also contains bacteria like E. coli, which can sicken people and animals through contact with contaminated water.

Slater Custom Farming, Slather Farms 88th, Baseline, Silver Farm, 86th Street Farm and Joe's Place are among the companies that have a focus on Slar'' custom farming business, as well as Slawr Farme', LlateR Farm 89th and Sler Skies Baselines, Alate R' at the 82th of the Streets Farm.

Slater Farms did not adhere to a 2013 agreement with state regulators, which put the operations under tyre after discovering they were operating at CAFO-scale and discharging manure into Brayden Creek owing to an individual complaint.

According to EGLE, Slater was incorrectly storing and land-applying manure at the time, and not maintaining proper storage structures.

Despite the new permit conditions, Slater continued to improperly manage about 8.9 million gallons of liquid waste and 1,500 tons of solid waste from its own operations each year, as well as roughly 10.7 million more gram of fluid waste at an unrelated commercial farm, according to Nessel.

The manure has been poured over hundreds of acres in Newaygo and Muskegon counties. The state said that this has been overloading the watershed with nutrients and pathogens.

The farm must provide soil permeability test results and borings, as well as an existing waste storage structure at Salter Home Farm, which the state says doesn't conform to requirements, despite the farm owners' claims.

Liesl Clark, EGLE director, said the settlement sends a message that the state will not tolerate obscene environmental violations.

Robert Springstead, the Circuit Court Judge of Newaygo County, approved the settlement. The case was originally filed in Ingham County.

Last year, Michigan introduced new restrictions on water manure application and other modifications to its general five-year CAFO permit. Agribusiness groups are currently seeking an administrative challenge to be filed.

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