Cattle firm fined after manure pollutes stream with E.coli

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A farm operation in central Minnesota has been fined $30,000 after cattle manure polluted a stream with E.coli bacteria.

Crow Wing Feeders, based near Pillager, housed its cattle on "unpermitted areas of land" by Seven Mile Creek and a nearby stream, both of which feed into the Crow Wing River.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency says cows' waste entered the stream, with excess E.coli levels found in the water. The company was also found to have committed several other violations, including failing to maintain a proper manure-storage basin.

Crow Wing Feeders has agreed to pay a $30,000 penalty and "complete a series of corrective actions."

The Crow Wing River is on the MPCA's list of "impaired waters," a list which has attracted intense scrutiny in recent months amid concerns over water quality in rivers, streams and lakes as a result of pollution from agricultural run-off and waste, among other sources.

It is the second time Crow Wing Feeders has been fined by the MPCA, after it was handed a $15,000 penalty in 2010 following inspections by officers.

This fine was handed out after the company expanded its herd to almost 2,700 without getting a pollutant discharge elimination permit, which is required when there are more than 1,000 cattle on a feedlot.

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