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In flood’s wake, WSDA urges dairy to block off manure


July 21, 2017, Washington – The Washington State Department of Agriculture has ended its investigation into the release of fecal coliform-laced water that flooded a Yakima County community last winter, recommending that a dairy block off a manure compost pile or move it to higher ground.

Snipes Mountain Dairy was not fined or ordered to take action, but WSDA will inspect the farm in the fall, department spokesman Hector Castro said.

If the dairy doesn’t respond to WSDA’s concerns, the department could refer the case to the Department of Ecology, which also has jurisdiction over the dairy.

The dairy also could face more severe penalties by WSDA if it discharges polluted water again. “It certainly would be a factor,” Castro said.

WSDA’s notice to Snipes dairy stems from a March 1 flood that actually began on another farm.

Melting snow breached a berm around a field and flowed onto Snipes dairy. The floodwater wasn’t polluted until it washed into the pile of manure, according to WSDA’s investigation. The contaminated water eventually surrounded several homes a half mile away in Outlook. READ MORE