Monday, January 19, 2015

A first: Federal judge says over-applying manure to fields subjects dairy to solid-waste regulation

Can manure be spread so thick that it can be considered a solid waste subject to state and federal regulation? Yes, a U.S. district judge in Washington state ruled last week, marking the first time a federal court has said manure from livestock facilities can be so regulated, Ayesha Rascoe of Reuters reports.

Judge Thomas Rice of Washington's Eastern District rules that Cow Palace Dairy in Zillah, Wash., "polluted groundwater by over-applying manure to soil," Rascoe reports. "In one instance, the plaintiffs in the case said Cow Palace applied more than 7 million gallons of manure" to a field that was already "sufficiently fertilized."

Cow Palace plans to appeal, one of its attorneys said. "There's a reason no court has ever done this," Debora Kristensen told Rascoe. "It's because the statute was not intended to apply to these situations." She said the dairy already has an agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency to address water-pollution issues. (Read more)

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