DOH, Big Island Dairy sign consent agreement

The state Department of Health today entered into an administrative order on consent with the owners of Big Island Dairy.

The AOC was completed to address numerous discharges of wastewater containing manure from the dairy to state waters during the past two years that were documented by DOH.

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According to a news announcement from the DOH, the agreement requires Big Island Dairy owners to terminate their dairy operations, remove all their cows from confinement on the site, clean and remove the existing wastewater system and pay $79,000 by June of 2019, either as an administrative penalty or to fund an environmentally beneficial project in the area.

The removal of cows in confinement and the cleaning and removal of the dairy’s wastewater system is expected to halt the odor and wastewater discharges that have affected neighbors in Ookala during operations at the Big Island Dairy facility, the DOH said.

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Residents of Ookala have long complained about releases of manure-laden water from the dairy into nearby gulches that run through or next to the community.

In the most recent incident, an estimated 2 million gallons of wastewater mixed with storm water was discharged for the dairy’s wastewater lagoons in February.

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