MADIGAN ACTS TO PROTECT PUBLIC HEALTH FROM ALLEGED CONTAMINATED WATER
Chicago - Attorney General Lisa Madigan has obtained a court order requiring a Kankakee County feedlot operator to immediately stop discharging livestock waste and contaminated stormwater into ditches that lead to the nearby Kankakee River.
Elwood Line owns and operates a 960-head feedlot operation in Momence. Line’s cattle operation is comprised of four open cattle feedlots, two catch basins and a drainage tile system. On May 4th the court entered an order requiring Line to disconnect a mechanical pump that discharged allegedly contaminated livestock waste into the Singleton Ditch, a tributary to the Kankakee River. The Singleton Ditch empties into the River less than two miles away. The court order also requires Line to block and disable all pipes, lines and other pathways of a gravity feed drainage pipe that connects another ditch to the Singleton Ditch, and to close off inlets to the tile system.
Under the court order, Line must act by May 18 to repair any breaches in the earthen berms that form the two catch basins to prevent accumulated water and solids from discharging. By June 3, Line must remove all manure solids in the catch basins, and clean and modify the basins to accommodate an adequate storage capacity. Line must deposit the manure and other solid wastes on land in accordance with the requirements of the environmental laws. The court also ordered Line to fill in low-lying areas of his feedlot and redirect stormwater flow to the catch basins.
Madigan said that within 60 days, Line also must submit to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) a completed application for a water discharge permit known as a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for his cattle operation. If Line fails to comply with any of the terms of the court order, he is subject to a penalty of $250 a day.
“This prompt court action will stop serious breaches of the laws that are designed to protect Illinois rivers and streams from harmful pollution,” Madigan said.
Madigan’s office also filed a seven-count complaint against Line after a March joint inspection by the IEPA and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). The agencies conducted the inspection in response to a citizen complaint regarding the alleged discharge of cattle waste and catch basins overflowing into the Singleton Ditch. The complaint seeks the statutory maximum civil penalty for alleged violations that include a substantial danger to the environment, public health and welfare; water pollution; creating a water pollution hazard, and offensive conditions; NPDES permit violations; and livestock waste storage violations.
The court has set a status hearing for the case for July 9 in Kankakee County Circuit Court.Assistant Attorneys General Vanessa Vail and Christopher Grant are handling the case for Madigan’s Environmental Bureau.