Posted by: Lawyer Sanders | May 20, 2009

Kentucky environmental attorney Sanders says EPA cracks down on Ohio Fresh Eggs’ illegal dumping of wastewater from CAFO into creek.

U.S. EPA announced that on May 18, 2009, Ohio Fresh Eggs, LLC (“Eggs”) pled guilty in United States District Court, Northern District of Ohio, to illegally discharging egg wash water into Kreisel Ditch, a tributary of Tymochtee Creek.

In addition to Eggs’ guilty plea, a plea agreement was filed with the Court. The agreement recommends that Eggs serve a three-year term of probation. During the term of probation, the parties recommended to the Court, that Eggs will pay a fine of $150,000 and pay a total of $150,000 to three charitable environmental organizations, as part of community service. Also, during the term of probation, Eggs has agreed to make a number of improvements to its facility, including the addition of another field to which the egg wash water will be applied.

Eggs, a concentrated animal feeding operation, is the largest egg producer in the State of Ohio with 12 production facilities located in Northwest and Central Ohio. In Northwest Ohio, Eggs operates a commercial egg farm located in Marseilles. Approximately three million egg laying chickens are housed at this facility. Kreisel Ditch is located near the facility.

Eggs produced at the Marseilles Eggs facility are washed prior to shipment. The water from the egg washing process is collected in a lagoon at the farm. This wastewater contains broken eggs, soap, and a minor amount of manure. To dispose of the wastewater in the lagoon, Eggs has a permit to apply it to a nearby field.

A contractor for Eggs, Myron P. Lawler, directed a crew which applied the wastewater to the field. At Mr. Lawler’s direction, the wastewater was negligently over-applied onto the field through the night of March 6, 2007, and into next morning, March 7. As a result of the over-application, on March 7, 2007 the wastewater flowed off of the field, through a series of drainage tiles, into Kreisel Ditch and subsequently into Tymochtee Creek. Both Eggs and Mr. Lawler were charged with negligently violating the Clean Water Act. The charge against Mr. Lawler is still pending.
 This case was prosecuted by United States Department of Justice, United States Attorney, Northern District of Ohio, following an investigation by the U.S. EPA Criminal Investigation Division; the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation; and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, all members of the Northwest Ohio Environmental Crimes Task Force.  These fine environmental enforcement folks certainly cracked some knuckle heads at Eggs. Scrambled the bums!

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