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Regulations needed for all CAFOs

September 19, 2012

Did you know the Illinois EPA can’t regulate industrial livestock facilities it can’t find? To date, regulators have failed to prevent their pollution — many are capable of generating more waste than some cities.

Pollution about a large scale has occurred because the agency doesn’t have accurate information on these facilities (a.k.a. concentrated animal feeding operations or CAFOs).

It’s been a “catch me if you can” system that allows water pollution to go unchecked.

2008 was a big year for CAFO-related fish kills in Illinois. There were eight.

Would you consider a 10-mile fish kill a crime? The blame, legal process, and unpaid fines go on for years…

A 10-mile fish kill in the Sangamon River in McLean County from 2010 is still in dispute. Regulators have not been able to identify, charge, convict or fine the operation that caused so much damage, although a CAFO upstream was suspect.

The Pollution Control Board should enact regulations requiring basic information to be submitted by all CAFOs to the IEPA. This would provide valuable information to narrow the focus of investigations and would help ensure laws are upheld. Without this, violations could continue to go undetected, unreported and unpunished.

It took a stream turning bright purple by a CAFO in Jo Daviess County back in 2010 to finally get the attention of the IEPA. This happened even though previous discharges were documented by area residents to no avail. Still no charges or fines paid — and that stinks.

Susan Turner
Warren, Ill.

From the Sept. 19-25, 2012, issue

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