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Manure spill prompts lawsuit

Jeff Caldwell 11/25/2013 @ 11:26am Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

A manure spill on an Iowa farm operated by Carlyle, Illinois-based The Maschhoffs, has the company facing legal action.

A manure spill at a sow facility in southeastern Iowa earlier this month saw manure make it to the nearby Des Moines River via a creek on the farm, reports show. That incident is now the target of a lawsuit filed by Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (ICCI), an environment and community watchdog organization.

"The violations detailed in this notice of intent are acute and contribute to water quality degradation and impairments in waters of the United States. If left unabated, Iowa CCI and the HSUS (Humane Society of the United States, also a litigant in the suit) expect the continuing nature of the systemic failures at this facility to cause further damage to the facility's receiving creeks as well as the Des Moines River and its interstate receiving waters," according to the letter of intent filed by attorneys for ICCI and HSUS. "On numerous occasions, there have been systemic failures to the sow unit's animal waste management system, including its piping system, resulting in spills of thousands of gallons of swine waste and combined process wastewater onto the land and into one or more tributaries of the Des Moines River."

Documents indicate the farm in question has had major spills twice in the last six years, once in 2007 and once in 2011.

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