Dairy Sued Over Fish-Kill Incident

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Michigan state officials are suing a dairy in connection with an August 2009 fish-kill incident.

The Department of Attorney General has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment. The lawsuit names Noll Dairy Farm, Inc. of Croswell, Mich., and Nevin and Heather Wenger of Marlette, Mich. -- doing business as Back Country Manure Management Company -- as defendants liable for discharges of manure-laden storm water that led to the fish kill.

The lawsuit alleges that manure generated by Noll Dairy was excessively applied by Back Country to a field, owned by Noll Dairy, adjacent to the Lawson Drain, a tributary to Seymour Creek and ultimately, the Black River.

In August 2009, more than 200,000 fish were reportedly killed in a 12-mile stretch of the Black River in Sanilac and St. Clair counties.

Since the event, Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment staff has attempted to negotiate a settlement with the liable parties, but there has been no resolution. Moving the matter into the court system is a way for both parties to continue negotiating with assistance from the court, according to a press release issued Tuesday by the DNRE.

Source: Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment

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