Jess Mazour, with Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, says many confined animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, still don’t have a Clean Water Act permit.
“They have done a ton of inspections, they’ve gone after a bunch of manure spills, but nothing has resulted in a Clean Water Act permit,” Mazour says. “There’s still not a single hog confinement in Iowa with a Clean Water Act permit, so that’s a problem. One of the things they were supposed to do as part of this work plan was to identify factory farms around the state that they didn’t have in their database already.”
She says there are more than 5,000 CAFOs that are still not accounted for in the DNR work plan. Mazour also says the EPA needs to take over from the Iowa DNR in order to enforce the Clean Water Act and bring those CAFOS in line.
“We, in Iowa, cannot wait longer, our water can’t wait,” she says. “DNR has proven for now three years that they don’t take this seriously and they’re not willing to do their job to enforce the Clean Water Act. Yeah, it’s absolutely fine if the the EPA steps in and cracks down.”
Mazour says all CAFOS should have to have a Clean Water Act permit before they’re allowed to operate.
“We want every hog confinement in Iowa to have a Clean Water Act permit because, one, they’re five-year permits, so they have to be renewed which means we can shut down bad actors, and two, it increases the amount of fines we can give for manure spills. Right now, DNR has a max of $10,000 and that’s just not enough. It’s become a cost of doing business.”
She says permitted operations can faces fines of $37,500 per day when they’re in violation. Mazour says Iowa is going through a water crisis with a record number of waterways polluted.
By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton