PHILADELPHIA — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued an emergency order under the Safe Drinking Water Act to Kenneth Brockett, owner and operator of the Kenneth Brockett Farm in Tyrone, Pa. after determining that the dairy farm has caused or contributed to the contamination of a nearby well.
The order requires the dairy farmer to provide an alternative source of drinking water to the owners of the contaminated well within 10 days of the effective date of the agency’s order. The order also requires Brockett pay for sampling of the contaminated well and develop an effective plan to manage his dairy operation’s process wastewater and manure. Brockett has indicated to EPA that he intends to comply with the order.
A November 2010 EPA inspection determined that the Brockett farm was not taking adequate measures for managing manure, allowing contaminants such as fecal coliform bacteria, including E. coli, and ammonia to infiltrate underground sources of drinking water through sinkholes on the farm property.
In recent years, EPA has been conducting assessments of animal feeding operations in south central Pennsylvania, particularly dairy operations, and has found that there is wide spread non-compliance with state regulations and extensive nutrient and pathogen contamination of drinking water sources.
If not managed properly, animal feeding operations can be sources of contaminants such as fecal coliform bacteria, nitrate and ammonia. These contaminants can endanger human health, harm local water quality, and may also cause detrimental effects to the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.