An Oregon dairy has been fined $16,800 for a massive manure spill that shut down Tillamook Bay last spring.
About 190,000 gallons of liquid manure were released from an above-ground storage tank at Tony Silveira Dairy on April 12, the Oregon Department of Agriculture said.
The manure pooled in a field near the dairy barns, flowed across three other landowners’ properties, and ended up in a slough that connects to a drainage system that pumps water into the Tillamook River, which then enters the bay.
Health officials closed the bay to recreational and commercial shellfish harvesting for more than a week, affecting at least one commercial oyster grower.
Tony Silveira Dairy operates at 1445 Tone Road and 1245 Matejeck Road in Tillamook.
It supplies the Tillamook County Creamery Association, which makes Tillamook brand cheese. Officials there did not respond to a request for comment.
The dairy was cited for 12 violations. Dairy officials also did not respond to a request for comment.
The dairy was among eight farms, ranches and feedlots the state agency fined for water quality violations during 2017. Four of those were in the Willamette Valley.
- Volbeda Farms, at 8105 Wallace Road NW, Salem, was fined $95,480 for repeatedly allowing manure to flow into Spring Valley Creek. The agency also revoked the dairy’s wastewater permit, making it the first Oregon dairy to lose its permit. Volbeda Farms historically has supplied Willamette Valley Cheese Company with its milk.
- White Buffalo Ranch, a swine and cattle facility at 6653 Shaw Highway in Aumsville, was fined $1,800 for repeatedly allowing liquid manure to flow off its property, threatening both groundwater and surface water.
- Troost Dairy, at 41175 Cole School Road in Stayton, was fined $800 for an overflowing manure lagoon.
- Cloud Cap Farms, at 30207 SE Kelso Road in Boring, was fined $3,120, for allowing liquid manure to enter a ditch that flows to Deep Creek.
- Sunset Canyon Jerseys, at 26755 Blaine Road in Beaver, was fined $36,280, for allowing liquid manure to run off its property into the Nestucca River.
- Geo Farms, at 4555 Alderbrook Road in Tillamook, was fined $4,816, for allowing liquid manure to flow into nearby sloughs.
- Valley Oaks Dairy, at 17805 Highway 101 S. in Tillamook, was fined $680 for failing to report its annual report for 2016.
The ag department regulates manure discharges from the state’s approximately 509 confined animal feeding operations, such as dairies and feedlots.
Last year, agency staff members performed 880 inspections at those facilities, up from 763 in 2016.
In addition to the eight civil penalties, the state issued 50 notices of noncompliance/plans of correction, or citations without fines, in 2017.
In 2016, the state fined three confined-animal operations a total of $7,060, and cited 27 more.