EPA slaps Ohio Fresh Eggs with fines

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SALEM, Ohio – The Ohio EPA has slapped Ohio Fresh Egg owners with a $13,250 penalty for drinking water violations at the farm’s Croton facility.
Poor conditions. EPA said the farm maintained “poor operating conditions” and had connected water systems in a way that could have contaminated the aquifer and the farm’s potable drinking water.
The farm was also cited for failing to monitor total coliform, a bacteria often associated with manure, and failing to do follow-up testing after operators were notified there was a coliform problem, according to Jim Leach, Ohio EPA spokesman.
The farm also failed to maintain water softeners and chlorinators and didn’t monitor the water system for chemicals.
EPA said the violations reached as far back as July 2003.
Fix it. EPA has given Ohio Fresh Eggs owners until May 1 to correct the violations. Ohio Fresh Eggs is also required to comply with drinking water monitoring and reporting requirements.
Of the penalty, $10,600 is earmarked for Ohio EPA’s drinking water program and $2,650 will go to Ohio EPA’s Clean Diesel School Bus Fund.
Permit fights. Meanwhile, Ohio Fresh Eggs continues its fight with the state department of agriculture.
Assistant Director of Agriculture Howard Wise Nov. 30 revoked the farm’s permits to install and operate farms in Licking, Hardin and Wyandot counties, after the state found farm operators left out pertinent information on permit applications.
The state alleges the permits should have listed Austin “Jack” DeCoster as a partner in the farm. DeCoster has a history of environmental noncompliance in Iowa. If his name appeared on the applications, the state previously said it would have thought twice before granting the permits.
Without the permits, the farm cannot legally operate under the rules mandated by the department of agriculture’s Livestock Environmental Permitting Program.
Appeal. Ohio Fresh Eggs appealed the state’s decision to revoke the permits in December, according to LEPP spokesman Bill Schwaderer.
Schwaderer said there have been Environmental Review Appeals Commission hearings on the matter. Both sides are due to submit legal briefs before the end of the month, and oral arguments are set for early March.
(Reporter Andrea Myers welcomes reader feedback by phone at 800-837-3419 or by e-mail at amyers@farmanddairy.com.)

Related articles:

State revokes egg farm permits (12-7-2006)

Egg farm may have permits yanked (11/30/2006)

Ohio Fresh Eggs ordered to destroy 4.3 million eggs at Croton facility (3/9/2006)

State threatens to yank permits from Ohio Fresh egg farm (10/6/2005)

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