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Menahga area feedlot fined $30,000 by MPCA

DHS Farms and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) recently reached an agreement that required the facility to pay $30,000 for alleged feedlot violations. The feedlot, owned by David Sabin and Marci Burkel, is east of Menahga in northern Wadena County's Shell River Township.

According to MPCA and Wadena County feedlot staff inspection reports for 2009 and 2010, the feedlot was permitted to hold a maximum of 300 head of feeder cattle, but had more than 1,700 head housed there during two inspections that took place nearly a year apart. When a feedlot exceeds 1,000 head of cattle, it is required to obtain a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. DHS Farms failed to obtain the NPDES permit, and failed to notify local zoning authorities of its expansion.

The facility also allowed manure and manure-contaminated runoff to discharge into area waters, failed to notify the MPCA of the discharges, and failed to keep records on file of manure transfers for land application.

In addition to paying the $30,000 civil penalty, DHS Farms is completing a series of corrective actions.

When calculating penalties, the MPCA takes into account how seriously the violation affected the environment, whether it is a first-time or repeat violation, and how promptly the violation was reported to appropriate authorities. It also attempts to recover the calculated economic benefit gained by failure to comply with environmental laws in a timely manner. For a comprehensive list of enforcement actions by the MPCA, refer to the agency's web site at