Iowa Department of Natural Resources

ROCK RAPIDS—A Rock Rapids agricultural business has been fined by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Jansma Cattle Co. Inc. and the DNR entered into an administrative consent order on Oct. 10 for the purpose of resolving violations of animal feeding operation regulations and water quality laws and regulations resulting from discharges from an open-feedlot animal feeding operation owned by Jansma Cattle.

A consent order indicates the DNR has voluntarily entered into a legally enforceable agreement with the other party.

According to the DNR’s six-page order, Jansma Cattle, headquartered at 701 S. Ninth Ave., has been required to:

  • Pay an administrative penalty of $5,000.
  • Implement a plan of action to prevent further discharges from the animal feeding operation’s feedlot.
  • Comply with the laws and regulations governing animal feeding operations and water quality.

Jansma Cattle owns an open-feedlot animal feeding operation located at 2942 and 2961 160th St., about a mile west of Rock Rapids.

According to the DNR’s order, the feedlot is divided into northern and southern portions and has a capacity of approximately 4,000 finishing cattle.

On May 16, 2017, the DNR conducted an investigation of the feedlot’s northern portion to ensure compliance with the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit issued to Jansma Cattle at the time.

During the investigation, the DNR noted settling basins for manure solids were not draining manure to a settled open feedlot effluent basin and manure was not fully contained in the settling basins.

The DNR informed Jansma Cattle that it must submit a plan of action to the DNR to resolve the drainage and containment problems.

On Oct. 11, 2017, DGR Engineering of Rock Rapids submitted a plan of action on the behalf of Jansma Cattle.

The plan included updating and repairing the settling basins for manure solids for the feedlot’s northern portion.

On Aug. 23, 2018, DGR Engineering informed the DNR most of the planned labor had been completed, however, work remained on one of the settling basins.

On April 12 of this year, the DNR re­­ceived a spill report from Extended Ag Services Inc. of Lester on the behalf of Jansma Cattle.

The report indicated manure was being released from the unfinished settling basin and had the potential to discharge into an unnamed tributary of the Rock River.

The DNR responded to the feedlot’s northern portion and investigated the settling basins and settled open feedlot effluent basin.

The settled open feedlot effluent basin was found to be completely full and manure was backing up into the settling basins.

Manure was being released from one side of the unfinished settling basin, traveling northeast through a vegetated area and discharging into the tributary.

At the site of the discharge, the DNR noted water in the tributary was dark brown in color and smelled of manure.

Directly upstream from the discharge site, the tributary’s water was clear and had no discernible smell.

Several dozen feet downstream from the discharge site, water in the tributary remained brown in color and still smelled of manure.

The DNR took samples at several sites along the tributary for laboratory testing.

The lab results indicated manure entered the tributary, according to the DNR’s order.

The DNR did not observe any fish killed from the discharge of manure.