DNR fines Akron man

Friday, June 20, 2014

AKRON -- The Department of Natural Resources has ordered Corey DeRocher to pay a $2,000 fine for the improper application of manure in an alfalfa field near Akron.

According to DNR documents, DeRocher operates a 2,400 head, wean-to-finish, hog feeding operation near Akron.

DeRocher hired Greg Lammers, of Le Mars, a certified commercial manure service applicator, to land apply liquid hog manure from DeRocher's feeding operation to the alfalfa field.

On Sept. 27, 2013, the DNR received a complaint alleging application violated state law by being applied too close to the residence of Jay Willer, of Akron.

The same day of the complaint, the DNR arrived on scene to investigate.

They found Lammers applying manure at a rate of 1,000 gallons per acre of alfalfa, according to DNR reports.

During their investigation, DNR staff observed the application was within 115 feet of the Willer residence and 435 feet from another residence to the south of the field, according to DNR reports.

State law requires a distance of 750 feet of separation between the surface application of liquid manure and any residence.

After the investigation, DNR staff reviewed the manure management plan for DeRocher's animal feeding operation and discovered the land where manure had been applied by Lammers was not included in the plan.

On Oct. 7, 2013, DNR mailed notices of violation to both Lammers and DeRocher.

The violations included failure to maintain proper distance from residences during surface application of manure and for failure to identify which fields would have application of manure in the plan, according to DNR reports.

The notices also stated that the matter was being referred to the DNR's legal services bureau.

Land application of manure is an activity that poses a substantial environmental threat and therefore, demands the highest level of care, according to the DNR.

The Environmental Protection Agency stats improper handling of animal waste is a danger to nearby waterways, which has the potential to harm both people and aquatic ecosystems.

When contaminates from manure seep into water supplies, the amount of nitrates can reach unhealthy levels, according to the EPA.

An EPA study found that infants up to 3months of age are particularly susceptible to high nitrate levels and may develop methemoglobinemia, otherwise known as Blue Baby Syndrome, an often fatal blood disorder.

The DNR alleges DeRocher saved time and money by not ensuring the manure was applied properly and for that reason fined him $1,000 for economic benefit.

He was also fined $500 for culpability and $500 for the gravity of the violation, according to DNR reports.

On April 3, 2014, DeRocher was found to be in complete compliance and full satisfaction of requirements for violations.

DeRocher did not return a call seeking comment.

DNR reports do not mention any fines or penalties for Lammers.

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