Iowa Authorities Order Cleanup of 7 Million Gallons of Manure at Former Swine Site

Authorities in Iowa have issued a mandate for the removal of over 7 million gallons of accumulated manure at a former swine site in southern Iowa. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has directed the owners of the Albia facility to dispose of the stored manure within a specified timeline or face substantial fines.

The facility, previously operated by Jeffrey and Tina Smith of Duluth, Minnesota, housed up to 2,500 swine until 2014. Despite previous directives from the DNR in 2014 to clear out the manure from two outdoor lagoons, the cleanup has not been executed.

Bill Gibbons, a senior environmental specialist for the DNR, has observed instances of overflow from the lagoons, although the environmental impact has been minimal. However, the prolonged presence of the manure poses potential risks, prompting the DNR to enforce its removal by the end of the year.

The lagoons contain approximately 7.5 million gallons of liquid and about 1,800 tons of solid manure material. Gibbons estimates that disposing of such a large volume could require significant financial resources, potentially involving spreading it on fields.

Under state regulations, manure must be removed within six months following the closure of an animal confinement. Failure to comply with the directive could result in fines of up to $5,000.

The Smiths are required to provide regular updates on the progress of the cleanup to the DNR. Failure to address the issue by the deadline could lead to monthly fines of $1,000 for up to five months. This situation underscores the importance of timely and proper waste management practices in agricultural operations to mitigate environmental risks.