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DEQ Resolves Water Quality Issues at Large Midland County Dairy

Mibelloon Dairy Assessed $44,800 Fine and Costs for Pine River Pollution

April 26, 2008       Leave a Comment
By: Dave Rogers

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Water quality issues raised by citizen complaints about a Midland County farm feeding 3,300 cattle have been resolved, Department of Environmental Quality Director (DEQ) Steven E. Chester has announced.

Mr. Chester said the DEQ has entered into an Administrative Consent Order with Mibelloon Dairy to resolve water quality concerns. The dairy was fined $39,800 plus $5,000 costs, the DEQ said in a news release issued April 24.

As part of the agreement, the dairy has agreed to change the way it handles animal wastes and make improvements in its facilities, according to the DEQ.

"Mibelloon Dairy is classified as a concentrated animal feeding operation or "CAFO" under both state and federal law as it has approximately 3,300 mature dairy cows at the Jasper Township dairy operation," said Mr. Chester. "Sites utilized by Mibelloon Dairy for the land application of waste from the CAFO are located within Midland and Gratiot counties."

DEQ staff documented discharges of manure and other agricultural waste, including nutrients and oxygen-depleting substances, to local drains that discharge into the Little Salt Creek, a tributary of the Pine River on three occasions.

In addition, DEQ staff responded to citizen complaints regarding large piles of manure stored on crop fields in April 2007. Although no discharge to surface waters was documented at that time, storage of waste in this manner is a violation of the permit previously issued to Mibelloon due to the substantial risk posed not only to surface water resources, but groundwater quality as well.

"CAFO operators must be aware of the risks their operations can pose to our environment and take every precaution to protect it," said Director Chester. "I appreciate Mibelloon Dairy's commitment to resolving this matter and improving their operations."

Besides, the civil fine of $39,800, the dairy will reimburse the DEQ for over $5,000 of the costs expended in pursuing the enforcement action, the DEQ said.

Contact: Robert McCann (517) 241-7397.

Editor's note: DEQ news releases are available on the department's Internet home page at

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Dave Rogers

Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
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