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Wood County: A Family Farm Force

February 20, 2009

Dr. Midden’s Water Testing Program Report – We have been monitoring water quality in streams, creeks, and ditches in Wood County since October 2006. Our initial goal was to collect and test water samples from sites that were immediately upstream and downstream of the planned and permitted new CAFOs in our County, Reyskens, Naomi, and Green, and their manure application fields as identified in their permits. This would provide baseline data which would help establish the quality of water before these new farms began operation. From that October to May 2007 we collected a total 3 or 4 samples from each site that we identified, and had these samples tested by the commercial Jones-Henry lab in Northwood for fecal coliform, E. coli, nitrate + nitrite, ammonia, total Kjedahl nitrogen, total phosphorus, and total suspended solids. In most cases we also measured pH and dissolved oxygen on site. Read the full report.  

Click here to see the numereous violations in Southern Michigan built by Vreba-Hoff Dairy Corportation, LLC developers of the Manders Dairy near Weston and the one being built on Cygnet Road & St. Rt. 235 near Hoytville.

Click here Environmentally Concerned Citizens of South Central Michigan (ECCSCM) – this Michigan group has a lot of information about Vreba-Hoff violations 

United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) Issues Clean Air Act (CAA) Notice of Violation (NOV) to Excel Dairy 
On July 18, 2008, U.S. EPA issued a NOV to The Dairy Dozen – Thief River Falls, LLP d/b/a Excel Dairy (Excel Dairy) in Thief River Falls, Minnesota (Excel Dairy). 

Excel Dairy is a concentrated animal feeding operation currently permitted for 1,554 dairy cows. 

In mid-June, 2008, Region 5 received copies of news articles as well as a citizen call regarding high hydrogen sulfide (H2S) levels measured inside residences and around homes near Excel Dairy in northern Minnesota. In May 2008, the State began monitoring H2S levels near Excel Dairy. State monitors have been recording H2S levels which exceed Minnesota State Implementation Plan (SIP) ambient air quality standards near Excel Dairy. The measured H2S levels exceed both of the H2S limits in Minnesota Rule (Minn. R.) 7009.0080 which has been approved as part of the Minnesota SIP. The first SIP limit is 0.05 parts per million (ppm) (that is 50 parts per billion, ppb) by volume as a half-hour average not to be exceeded over two times per year. The second SIP limit is 0.03 ppm (30 ppb) by volume as a half-hour average not to be exceeded over two times in any five consecutive days. 

The H2S emissions appear to be coming from 2 active waste impoundments at the dairy. Based on the ambient H2S levels, in early June 2008, the Minnesota Health Department recommended that citizens leave their homes, if able, until the concentrations subsided. Marshall County public health officials reported to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) that approximately 12-15 families within ½ mile of the Excel Dairy are potentially affected by H2S exposure. 

The NOV cites Excel Dairy for violations that include more than 200 30-minute average concentrations which exceed 30 parts per billion at the fence line, and over 150, 30-minute average concentrations which exceed 50 ppb at the fence line. The ambient monitors used by the State to obtain these measurements have an upper detection limit of 90 parts per billion and have been in place since May 23, 2008. Concentrations at the fence line have exceeded the upper limit of 90 ppb over 100 times since monitoring began. 

The Minnesota Department of Health has asked the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) to conduct an Exposure Investigation (EI). The purpose of the EI is to measure H2S emissions at two residential locations near the Excel Dairy to characterize concentrations, including peak concentrations and time-weighted average values, of hydrogen sulfide in residential areas near Excel Dairy and to provide information to evaluate if exposures are occurring at levels of health concern for residents and particularly to children and the elderly in the community. ATSDR began its monitoring program on Thursday, July 10, 2008, and will share data with U.S. EPA after it has been quality reviewed and assured. 

Contacts: Mary McAuliffe, ORC: 312-886-6237, Kevin Vuilleumier, ARD: 312-886-6188 and Bonnie Weinbach, ARD: 312- 886-0258 

March 2003
Vreba-Hoff Dairy Corporation, LLC
10 counts of failing to obtain required NSDES Permits for all 10 dairies
$177,000 Fine

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