Farm in Marshall Accused of Releasing Animal Waste Near Water Sources for Several Years
A farm in Marshall is facing civil action from the state of Michigan related to a lengthy history of alleged poor animal waste disposal practices. The Michigan Attorney General’s office says the actions of Holloo Farms in Calhoun County is threatening to overload nearby bodies of water with harmful bacteria and pathogens, including the Kalamazoo River, Lake Allegan and other related water bodies, even Lake Michigan.
The farm is a large concentrated animal feeding operation and reportedly has a history of noncompliance with various Michigan environmental agencies. The complaint, filed earlier this week in Ingham County Circuit Court, alleges Holloo Farms ongoing violations threaten to impair the natural resources of Calhoun County by overloading local water systems with nutrients and introducing bacteria and other pathogens from animal waste into the waters of the state.
Along with this, the farm's alleged ongoing refusal to fully comply with its permitting requirements is threatening the integrity of the EGLE permitting program because they have reportedly obtained an unfair financial advantage relative to compliant permittees.
The filing goes on to state:
“Improperly managing the waste produced at Holloo Farms Headquarters and Holloo Farms Satellite threatens nearby waters of the state with serious environmental and public health harms such as contaminated drinking water, surface water unsafe for recreation, and excess nutrients that harm aquatic life and contribute to algae blooms, which, in turn, render surface water unsafe for drinking or recreation.
Water is one of our most precious resources, whether it is in the lakes and rivers we swim and fish in, the aquifers we drink from, or the groundwater flowing beneath us all,” Nessel said. “Any company that chooses to pollute these shared resources instead of responsibly following environmental laws will pay a price for selfishly putting their own bottom line above public health and safety.
Responsible management of waste generated by large livestock operations is critical to protecting our state’s freshwater resources and the health of those who enjoy them,” “Flagrant and repeated violations of those responsibilities in this case are disappointing and left us with no alternative to today’s action.”
- EGLE Director Liesl Clark
Holloo’s noncompliance dates to 2004, when the Calhoun County Drain Commissioner first contacted EGLE about suspected discharge of manure from the operations into Budlong Drain, which is connected to Huckleberry Drain through a tile and an open ditch. Huckleberry Drain discharges into Wilder Creek, the Kalamazoo River, and ultimately Lake Michigan.
Since then, Holloo is accused of discharging manure repeatedly in the same area, most recently in 2019 when a discharge of approximately 72,000 gallons of runoff contaminated Huckleberry Drain.
In January of this year, a violation notice was issued related to ongoing permit violations, including improper land application of manure, as well as groundwater contamination. EGLE requested compliance by the end of January and they say that Holloo Farms did not comply with the notice.
Among the terms sought, the civil action seeks an order for civil fines and enjoining the farm from unlawfully discharging waste into waterways and groundwater.