Yakima Factory Farms Clean Up Their Act

Yakima Factory Farms Clean Up Their Act

In a landmark victory for clean water, two factory farms in Yakima, Washington agreed to clean up groundwater and limit future pollution – a result of our Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) case brought on behalf of the Community Association of Restoration of the Environment (CARE), Friends of Toppenish Creek, and Center for Food Safety.  

Plaintiffs brought the lawsuit against DBD Washington, LLC and SMD, LLC under RCRA, alleging the dairies seriously mismanaged their manure. The dairies contaminated groundwater and drinking water with nitrate from manure, which can cause severe health problems such as blue baby syndrome, several forms of cancer, autoimmune system dysfunction, and reproductive problems. The Yakima Valley is home to a large population of migrant farmworkers, many of whom are undocumented, who bear the burden of these public health impacts from factory farm pollution. 

Under the terms of the settlement, the dairies agreed to clean up their act. They will help restore the aquifer they polluted by remediating nitrate and ammonia contamination beneath their lagoons. In order to prevent future pollution, the dairies will double line or close waste lagoons, install over a dozen groundwater monitoring wells, improve land application of waste to avoid further contamination, and more. In the meantime, the dairies will fund alternative sources of clean drinking water for residents near the operations. 

This victory follows on the heels of an historic court victory, holding that manure from livestock facilities should be regulated as solid waste, and subsequent settlement in 2015 between these same groups and five other dairies in the Yakima Valley.  

CARE, Friends of Toppenish Creek and Center for Food Safety were represented by the Law Offices of Charles M. Tebbutt, FarmSTAND (formerly the Food Project at Public Justice), Terrell Marshall Law Group, PLLC, and the Law Office of Andrea Rodgers.

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