The Bruneau Cattle Co. has agreed to pay a $40,000 penalty to settle violations of the Clean Water Act for letting feedlot runoff from its pens run down a canal into C.J. Strike Reservoir. The feedlot, with more than 4,000 head of cattle, had no containment system and no permits to discharge pollutants. “CAFOs that discharge into our waterways are required to have permits under the Clean Water Act,” said Mike Bussell, director of the EPA’s office of compliance and enforcement in Seattle. “This requirement has been on the books since the 1970s, so there’s no excuse for not complying with the law.”
The company, whose president, Eric Davis, is a former president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Idaho Cattle Association, agreed, in addition to the fine, to “undertake various measures to ensure that wastewater is land applied at agronomic rates and is not discharged to surface waters,” the EPA said.
The EPA has been investigating the waste discharges at the Bruneau facility since 1996, when an inspection showed evidence that wastewater had been discharged from the feedlot into the South Side Canal “numerous times” in the previous five years. The canal runs into C.J. Strike Reservoir on the Snake River, a quarter mile west of the reservoir's popular Cottonwood Campground.