LYNDEN - Edaleen Dairy was hit with a $17,000 fine for two violations of the state's Water Pollution Control Act.
The dairy was cited for improperly applying digested cow manure to a field in the rain in November 2012 and for having a leaking valve in a wastewater system, according to a release from the Washington Department of Agriculture.
Rain and standing water in the field was a major factor in the violation, said Hector Castro of the department. The misapplication of the manure on the field in the rain can accelerate manure nutrients leaching into groundwater or streams.
As for the leaking valve, an analysis by a department inspector determined that the polluted water leaked into ditches that ultimately led to Bertrand Creek, identified as both salmon habitat and a human recreation area. The misapplication of manure resulted in a $9,000 violation, while the leaking valve led to an $8,000 fine.
The field violation was a result of miscommunication between a manager and an employee, said Mitch Moorlag, general manager at Edaleen. He added that the valve has been fixed and the dairy workers have examined all of the farm equipment to make sure it is working properly.
"At Edaleen Dairy, we take seriously our responsibility to protect the natural resources that sustain not only our family and our business but also our entire community," Edaleen Dairy officials posted on its website in response to the violations. "We ... have a long-standing commitment to operating our dairy in a manner that meets the expectations of our neighbors and the wider community. This incident will only strengthen that commitment."
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