Earlier this month, the Center for Food Safety (CFS) and a local community group, the Community Association for the Restoration of the Environment (CARE), saw victory against the Cow Palace, LLC, in Yakima Valley. The Washington Court ruled that the manure created at the dairy farm was solid waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).
This is the first time that manure has been included as a solid waste under RCRA. The dairy was producing more manure than they could properly use, violating dumping provisions, and storing it in such a way that it contaminated the county’s drinking water with high levels of nitrates.
Cow Palace, LLC produces milk, meat, crops, and manure. The dairy claimed that the manure was turned into compost and sold, temporarily stored in several earthen impoundments, and applied to agricultural fields as fertilizer, but the plaintiffs in the case assert that “the manure produced at the Dairy is less of a product than the unwanted byproduct of its primary milk operations.” The defendant’s own experts admitted that the manure was most likely contaminating the county’s water supply.
Remedying the messy situation is the next step after this victory for the Yakima County community.