Facing Problems With An Existing CAFO?How To...
Report Illegal Activity by a CAFO
If a CAFO receives its NPDES water discharge permit, you should still continue working to prevent or stop its pollution by conducting water testing, or by submitting followup FOIA requests to the MDEQ. An example of why you shouldn't give up: in Michigan, when the Hartford Dairy in Van Buren County applied for their water discharge permit, the Sierra Club submitted comments describing concerns about nutrient and manure sources that were not accounted for in the CNMP nor adequately spelled out in the permit application.
The MDEQ awarded the Harford Dairy an Individual NPDES water discharge permit, the CAFO was built, and within four months, the MDEQ had found so much E. coli in two nearby streams that both streams were added to Michigan's Impaired Waters List (303(d) list. If the water testing had not been done, no one would have been the wiser about the pollution. If we had not read about the water testing in the MDEQ's files, the public would not have been the wiser, either.
Who do you call to report illegal activity?
The circumstances determine whom you should call. You may want to look up the phone numbers for the following situations and write them down or load them into your speed-dial, so you will have them when needed.
An e-mail complaint can be productive if you have digital timestamped pictures, water sample results, and so on. Through email, you can easily send attachments to all agencies at once, including the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, the Michigan Department of Agriculture, the Michigan Department of Community Health, the County Health Department, the Drain Commissioner, the County Commissioners, and the legislators for your area.
Filing a Complaint in Michigan
Call the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality's Pollution Emergency Answering System (PEAS) Hotline at 800-292-4706 and tell the PEAS operator that you have observed a manure discharge to waters of the state or that you are experiencing an air quality problem. This phone number covers water discharges and air quality violations.
The PEAS operator will need to know:
You should also know which drain or surface water is being discharged to, if possible (for example: roadside ditch south of Donnelly Road on the west side of US 127 south to Fisher Lake)