Ohio dairy found guilty of water pollution violations

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LONDON, Ohio — The former Assen Dairy LLC in Madison County (now known as the Rising Sun Dairy LLC) and one of its owners, Petrus J. Assen, this week pleaded guilty to water pollution charges related to two separate incidents involving the improper application of manure, resulting in illegal discharges into Bradford Creek.

Beam Custom Applications and its owner, Joseph W. Beam of Clinton County, also pleaded guilty to water pollution charges Oct. 21 for their roles in the second incident.

The defendants have agreed to pay a total of $27,500 in fines and restitution.

What happened?

In April 2010, Assen Dairy, located at 8500 Yankeetown-Chenoweth Road in London, hired Beam Custom Applications to land-apply cow manure onto fields either owned or leased by the Assens.

Neither Assen nor Beam adequately inspected the fields prior to applying manure, nor did they take the necessary precautions, such as installing tile plugs, prior to the application in order to prevent the manure discharge from occurring.

Additionally, they did not follow the proper setback requirements, and Beam did not make the necessary adjustments to prevent the manure from ponding in the farm fields.

As a result of not following the requirements of the dairy’s permit and proper application procedures, manure entered the field tiles which drained to the ditch and creek, degrading the quality of the stream and affecting the aquatic life.

Pleading guilty

Assen Dairy pleaded guilty to two counts of water pollution, an unclassified misdemeanor, and Petrus J. Assen pled guilty to one count of the same violation. In total, Assen and the dairy must pay $15,000 in restitution to Ohio EPA, $3,000 in fines, $2,000 in restitution to the Midwest Environmental Enforcement Association, $250 in court costs and write a letter to be published in a farm journal explaining the importance of proper agricultural management.

Beam Custom Applications and Joseph W. Beam, of 359 Jamestown Road in Wilmington, each pleaded guilty to one count of water pollution.

Beam was sentenced to pay $1,000 in fines, $1,000 restitution to the Northeast Environmental Enforcement Project (NEEP) and $1,000 to Ohio EPA. The company was sentenced to pay a $1,000 fine, $1,000 to NEEP and $2,500 to Ohio EPA.

In the pleas reached earlier this year for the first incident, John Davisson and his company, Site-n-Pipe, located at 12140 Watkins Road in Marysville, were sentenced to a total of $2,500 in restitution to Ohio EPA and $500 in fines for applying 170,000 gallons of liquid manure onto an Assen field that traveled through field tiles and into the Madden-Higgins ditch.

Davisson and Assen did not plug the field tiles, follow setbacks requirements or till the soil-cracked field before the liquid manure was applied, in violation of the dairy’s permit and proper application procedures.

Separate case

In a separate case involving Stardust Dairy in Madison County and yet another illegal discharge of manure that polluted the East Fork of Paint Creek,

Beam and his company each pleaded guilty last month to one count of water pollution and paid a total of $9,000 in fines and restitution.

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