Work is under way to line the lagoons at Cow Palace Dairy in keeping with a settlement agreement.
As of Tuesday, December 20, 2016
GRANGER A local dairy began lining its lagoons last week in response to a court settlement.
Cow Palace Dairy, 1631 N. Liberty Road, began installing state-of-the-art synthetic liners in its earthen manure storage lagoons to prevent leakage of contaminants to groundwater.
Adam Dolsen of Cow Palace could not be reached for comment.
The first lagoon will have a double synthetic liner with a leak detection system between the liners.
This system, installed as part of 2015 settlement agreements between Community Association for Restoration of the Environment and Center for Food Safety and Cow Palace Dairy, Bosma Dairy, and George DeRuyter and Sons Dairy, has set the standard for the rest of the confined animal feeding operation industry, proponents said.
In the cases, federal District Judge Thomas Rice found manure lagoons were contributing to the groundwater nitrate pollution, posing an imminent threat to public health for those dependent on well water.
“It is long overdue that the dairy industry stop disposing of its manure in a manner that contaminates our groundwater and act responsibly,” Community Association for Restoration of the Environment President Helen Reddout said. “Lining lagoons is a huge step in the right direction.”
There are hundreds of unlined manure lagoons throughout the state, with many located in the Lower Yakima Valley.
So far, nearly 100 homes have received free potable well testing and installation of drinking water filtration systems.
Testing has shown more than 33 percent of drinking water wells in close proximity to dairies exceed the safe drinking water limit for nitrates, the plaintiffs said.
Their attorney, Charlie Tebbutt, praised Cow Palace’s example in following through on the settlement.
“Cow Palace has set the standard the rest of the confined animal feeding industry must now follow in order to protect people’s health,” Tebbutt said. “This technology is not new, it just had never been used by the dairy industry until now.
“We commend Cow Palace for being the leader in the industry and recognizing its responsibility to stop the flow of pollutants off their property...”