By Jared Strong
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources recently issued three fines for incidents that stemmed from manure spills or people spreading manure on land without being certified.
One of the penalties went to Sutter Finisher, near Pleasantville, which reported a manure spill in April 2022. The farm has nearly 2,500 hogs and was pumping manure when a valve malfunctioned and released an unknown amount of manure.
The manure leaked into the nearby tributary of a creek but did not cause an apparent fish kill, even though there were high levels of ammonia detected in the creek, said Bill Gibbons, an environmental specialist for the DNR.
Sutter constructed three berms to contain the manure near the hog facility and in the tributary and pumped manure from the tributary onto adjoining land.
During the course of the DNR’s investigation into the spill, the department found that Jacob, Kenneth and Tyler Sutter were not currently certified manure applicators. They were collectively fined $4,500.
Two other incidents were in Dallas County, where there was a manure spill of about 1,500 gallons from Gift Pork near Linden and a spill of unspecified amount at Dallas Pork near Dawson. The two sites are operated by the same person.
In November 2022, manure from Gift Pork was being transported by a vehicle when it overturned into a dry creek. Gift Pork flushed the manure with water and pumped it into a nearby field.
Less than a week later, a “significant amount” of manure spilled at the Dallas Pork facility and went onto a road, ditch and field.
Dallas Pork and Gift Pork were fined $3,500.
Finally, a north-central Iowa company was fined for employing two people to apply manure to fields who were not certified by the state. The discoveries of the lack of certifications happened in October and November, during routine departmental visits in Cerro Gordo County and in Hardin County.
Precision Manure Application was fined $5,000.
Iowa Capital Dispatch is part of the States Newsroom, a network of similar news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity.