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John Brasil Dairies Agrees to Pay $108,608 for Dumping Dairy Wastewater on Cropland
Late last month the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board (Board) announced that a settlement has been reached with a Turlock dairyman for violating waste discharge requirements.
John Brasil Dairies has agreed to pay $108,608 for having dumped dairy wastewater onto cropland twice. Both discharges occurred in 2019 and posed a threat to groundwater quality according to the Board.
Both violations were found while Regional Board staff were conducting dairy farm inspections. On the first occasion staff noticed manure slurry had been dumped onto a portion of the dairy cropland, inundating the winter crop. Later, at another Brasil Dairy, staff recorded a drop in the level of the wastewater lagoon indicating at least 156,000 gallons of wastewater had been applied to saturated soil, causing the winter crop to turn yellow. Neither of these applications were driven by crop needs, putting them out of compliance with the dairyman’s nutrient management plan.
Under normal circumstances manure and dairy wastewater contain nutrients that are beneficial for crop fertilization, however when soils are already saturated, wastewater should not be applied because plants are unable to absorb the nutrients. This also causes the wastewater to pass through the soil and into underlying groundwater, thereby degrading it.
The $108,608 penalty will be deposited into the State Water Board’s Cleanup and Abatement Account. That account provides grants for the cleanup and abatement of pollution when no viable responsible parties are available to undertake the cleanup work.