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Settlement reached with dairy defendant

One of five Lower Valley dairies sued one year ago reached a settlement in the suit brought by Outlook-based CARE (Community Association for Restoration of the Environment) and the Center for Food Safety from Washington D.C.

R.M. Haak & Sons Dairy on Washout Road, near Sun-nyside, has agreed to pay $40,000, according to the U.S. District Court settlement.

According to court documents, the money will assist those whose groundwater exceeds federal limits for nitrates.

The funds will be used to not only test for nitrates, but to provide financial assistance for property owners to purchase and maintain alternative water sources on a “first-come, first-served basis.”

Under terms of the settlement, the Haak dairy will have 30 days to produce a detailed plan for removing what is estimated at 700 tons of manure. The manure, according to court documents, must be removed no later than April 1.

In agreeing to the settlement, the Haak dairy is not required to admit any liability or wrong-doing.

The suit against the other four dairies - Liberty-Bosma, Cow Palace, D&A and George DeRuyter and Sons – continues to be in ongoing litigation, mainly in the discovery phase, says Charlie Tebbutt, an attorney for CARE and the Center for Food Safety.

The complaints brought in February 2013 center on alleged violations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act’s imminent and substantial endangerment and open-dumping provisions.

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