Two Western Washington dairies have been fined $8,000 apiece for discharging manure into a ditch or creek, according to the state Department of Agriculture.
The penalties against Valley View Dairy of Mount Vernon and the Lloyd Winterberg Dairy of Lynden were finalized Jan. 12.
Valley View owner Jerry Lanting said Monday that he will appeal the fine to the Pollution Control Hearings Board. He declined further comment. Efforts to reach Lloyd Winterberg were unsuccessful.
According to WSDA, a department inspector flew over Valley View Dairy on Oct. 19 and saw manure moving off saturated fields and into Nookachamps Creek. The creek flows into the Skagit River.
The next day, WSDA tested water upstream and downstream from the dairy and found high levels of fecal coliform downstream.
WSDA said the dairy applied manure Oct. 19 even though forecasts called for heavy rain. A total of 1.6 inches of rain fell at the dairy over a 24-hour period between Oct. 19 and 20.
Manure applications continued on Oct. 20 and 21, and setbacks were as little as 5 feet from the creek, according to WSDA.
WSDA determined the discharge of manure posed a significant potential harm to the environment and fish. The department imposed double the median penalty for a first-time discharge.
In Lynden, a WSDA inspector reported seeing livestock Oct. 11 in flood-prone fields at the Lloyd Winterberg Dairy. The fields drain into a ditch that empties into the Nooksack River. Water taken from the ditch had high levels of fecal coliform bacteria, according to WSDA.
WSDA concluded that inadequate fences allowed animals into flooded fields, leading to pollutants being released into the ditch.
The dairy was fined $6,000. WSDA added $2,000 that had been suspended from a fine it issued the dairy in 2015 for discharging pollutants from a lagoon.
The dairy also received a warning letter in 2015 from WSDA to keep animals out of flooded fields.
The Nooksack River flows into Portage Bay. Pollution has restricted harvests from Lummi Nation shellfish beds in the bay.