Two Central Valley Dairy Operators Cited for Violating Waste Management Practices

SACRAMENTO CA (6/10/2020) – The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board has issued cease and desist orders to two dairies in Acampo and Waterford whose management practices threatened groundwater quality after overflowing lagoons dumped wastewater onto cropland last winter. The action came at a June 4 Board meeting.

Staff from the Board’s Dairy Unit responded to a complaint and documented violations at the Lockwood III Dairy in Waterford. During a February 2019 inspection, staff observed standing manure wastewater in fields and corrals surrounding the dairy. The Board discovered violations at the Silva Brothers Dairy in Acampo during an inspection in March 2019. Staff observed full wastewater ponds and corrals and cropland that were flooded with excess wastewater.

While manure and dairy wastewater contain nutrients, including nitrates, that are beneficial to crops, they should only be applied when needed, since excess nitrates can pollute groundwater. To ensure nitrate-laden manure and wastewater is only applied according to crop needs, dairies are required to have enough capacity to store wastewater throughout the rainy winter months. Crops cannot uptake nutrients from manure and wastewater when the ground is saturated with rainwater.

As the dairies were dumping wastewater because they lacked storage capacity and not for crop nutrient needs, they violated their nutrient management plans. These two dairies have repeatedly been cited for violating requirements to have enough capacity to store their wastewater over the winter. Both dairies have received matching grants to install features that will improve their manure management and result in more storage capacity in their wastewater ponds.

Because of this, the Board chose to bypass fines and instead adopt cease and desist orders that require the dairies to implement the improvements in a timely manner. If either dairy fails to construct the improvements or violates the order, that dairy can be
required to cease operations.

Contact: Robert Busby