Restraining order filed against Clermont County farm for manure leak

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cows standing in manure
Dairy cattle standing in about a foot of manure on a Clermont County dairy farm. (Ohio Attorney General's Office)

GOSHEN, Ohio — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost filed for a temporary restraining order against the owner of Clermont County dairy farm after a massive manure leak caused significant pollution of a nearby stream.

The motion filed June 8 against Charles Carney comes after an investigation by the Ohio Department of Agriculture discovered the Moores Fork stream was “completely black with manure and extending as far downstream as one mile,” according to a release from the AG’s office.

“This isn’t a farm right now. It’s a biohazard that needs cleaned up before more harm is done,” Yost said, in a statement. “I am stepping in to start the cleanup process.”

Investigators with ODA visited Carney’s farm after a complaint was made of dead fish in Moores Fork, the AG’s office said. ODA found livestock standing in manure that was a foot deep. Carney’s manure storage lagoon had overflowed.

Livestock feed or food waste on the property had been reduced to liquid waste and was flowing throughout the property, contributing to the contamination. Neighbors nearby also said they spotted hundreds of dead fish in the stream, according to the release.

Carney was given an Emergency Order by ODA to clean up the waste. Investigators from ODA returned to the property to find he had not taken corrective action to stem the flow of manure. The case was then referred to the Attorney General’s Office.

Yost alleges in his motion for the restraining order that Carney violated Ohio’s Soil and Water Conservation laws by allowing manure-contaminated waste to enter the waterway.

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