State reduces fine after contamination kills 50K fish

Iowa environmental regulators lowered a tremendous that stemmed from a big fish kill final yr in Jap Iowa after the house owners of the culpable farm operation appealed.

The Iowa Division of Pure Assets initially levied a $10,000 administrative tremendous — the very best allowed by legislation — in opposition to a company owned by Patrick and Tracy Hammes, who stay in rural Batavia, together with a penalty of $11,339.89 for restitution.

That preliminary order in March was unilaterally decided by the Iowa DNR, with the potential for attraction. The Hammeses did attraction and negotiated a $3,000 discount of the tremendous, in accordance with state data.

As a part of that settlement, the Hammeses waived any additional proper to attraction. Additional, they’ve complied with facets of the earlier order to establish all drains on the farm web site and to develop a plan to stop future creek air pollution.

The issue was reported in September 2022 to the Iowa DNR when somebody noticed useless fish in Dry Creek in Buchanan County, about 6 miles northwest of Coggon.

An investigation recognized a close by fertilizer storage web site owned by the Hammes as a probable supply of the creek contamination. Liquid ammonia fertilizer is saved there, and runoff from the positioning might wash into drains that go into underground tiling in fields.

That tiling empties right into a small waterway that flows to a pond and the creek. The Iowa DNR believes the pond, which is shaped by a dam, developed a excessive focus of ammonia nitrogen. That pond water was abruptly launched into the creek when the dam was breached throughout a reconstruction challenge.

State exams of the remaining pond water discovered it had an ammonia nitrogen focus of 490 elements per million, which is greater than 100 instances the focus that’s considered protected for aquatic life.

An Iowa DNR officer estimated that about 50,700 small fish died in a 6-mile stretch of Dry Creek.

This text first appeared within the Iowa Capital Dispatch.

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