For immediate release - Monday, March 15, 2004.
Contact Bob Brammer - 515-281-6699.
Lawsuit Alleges Water Pollution and Hog Confinement
Violations at Audubon County Facilities Operated by
Attorney General Tom Miller and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources
have filed an environmental protection lawsuit
against Lawrence Handlos alleging water pollution, and violation of livestock
confinement requirements at several Handlos hog confinement facilities
in Audubon County.
The suit alleges that Handlos owns and operates nine confinement feeding operations in Audubon County with a total
capacity of 49,600 hogs. The suit alleges violations at eight of the sites.
According to the lawsuit, violations at Handlos facilities include:
- A manure spill of over 7,000 gallons at one site. The spill occurred when a manure hose slipped off an unattended
manure pump causing manure to spill. Some of the manure eventually discharged into a tributary of the East Branch of
the West Nishnabotna River.
- Failure to submit complete manure management plans for seven of the
nine Handlos facilities. The plans are required to identify the location
of areas for land application of manure, the number of acres available
for such application, and total nitrogen to be applied.
- Failure to install drainage tile to insure that the groundwater table
is below the manure storage structures at five Handlos facilities. Handlos
has not complied with DNR directives to install the drainage systems.
- Failure to comply with storm water discharge requirements at five
Handlos facilities, including failure to implement a pollution prevention
- Failure to obtain construction permits for expansion of three Handlos
- Land application of 700,000 gallons of manure at one Handlos facility
without an approved manure management plan.
The lawsuit was filed Friday afternoon in Audubon County District Court in Audubon. It seeks civil penalties up to $5,000
per violation. The suit also asks the Court to order Handlos to remedy the alleged violations, and to remove animals at
most of the sites until he has obtained required construction permits, installed required drainage tiles, and complied with
other terms sought by the lawsuit.
The suit says that on Dec. 5, 2003, Iowa DNR staff investigated a manure spill of over 7,000 gallons at the "4A King
Farm" site owned and operated by Handlos. The manure was being pumped out of the pit below a confinement building
for land application. The pump did not have a safety device to shut off automatically in the event the hose became
disconnected, and Handlos employees did not monitor the pump during the land application, according to the suit. The
manure flowed into a surface water intake, and eventually some of the manure discharged into a tributary of the East
Branch of the West Nishnabotna River, the suit alleged.
Click here for a copy of the lawsuit petition
filed March 12, 2004.
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