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Buchanan County couple settles with state on manure violation

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HAZLETON — An Independence couple will pay a $15,000 penalty and agree not violate state water pollution and manure control regulations through a settlement with Attorney General Tom Miller stemming from a series of illegal hog manure releases last year near Hazleton.

James and Sue Frye, who own and operate a swine confinement feeder operation southeast of Hazleton, settled the case through a consent decree approved Thursday by District Court Judge Linda Fangman.

The consent decree, filed in Buchanan County District Court, resolves Miller’s environmental lawsuit, filed Wednesday. The lawsuit alleged several violations of state water pollution control and animal feeding operation laws and regulations.

Over four days in September, according to the lawsuit, the Fryes applied onto three farm fields approximately 96,000 gallons of hog manure from three hog confinement buildings. The fields’ drainage pipes, called tiles, channeled discharges to nearby Pine Creek. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources estimated the discharges killed 5,459 fish.

The Fryes, according to the agreement, admit improperly retaining and applying the manure to their land, failing to use a certified service for land manure application and failing to notify the DNR of the manure discharges.

As part of the settlement, the Fryes agree not to violate state water pollution and manure control laws and regulations and to comply with applicable manure management plans.

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