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Peterson, Iowa Farmer Fined $15,000 For Illegal Manure Application That Killed Fish

Peterson, Iowa — A Clay County judge has penalized a Peterson, Iowa hog producer $15,000 for an illegal manure application incident last year that led to a fish kill.

In a consent decree filed in Clay County District Court, District Court Judge Nancy L. Whittenburg assessed the civil penalty against Bruce Click, who owns and operates a 4,000 head finishing unit, for surface applying manure last September without incorporating it into the soil as required. Click also discharged the manure into a tile line, which flowed into a tributary of the Little Sioux River. The manure flow resulted in water quality standard violations and a fish kill.

Click’s state-approved manure management plan required him to incorporate any surface applied manure within 24 hours. Click admitted that in August and September 2011 he failed to comply.

A petition filed by Attorney General Tom Miller alleged that in September 2011, Click ran a hose from his confinement building into an adjacent corn field for 400-500 feet, where the hose ended in a large pool of manure. The manure then eventually ran into a surface tile intake and discharged into an unnamed tributary of the Little Sioux River. The manure discharge turned the water a brown murky color with a strong manure odor, resulting in acutely toxic ammonia concentrations and a fish kill.

In the consent decree, Click admitted the violations and agreed to the penalty and a permanent injunction against further violations.

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