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Groups Notify Yakima Valley Factory Dairy of Intent to Sue for Endangering Public Health

Community Groups and Center for Food Safety will take View Point Dairy to court for polluting neighbor's drinking water

March 03, 2020
Center for Food Safety

 

YAKIMA, WA: Today, Center for Food Safety, Community Association for Restoration of the Environment (CARE), and Friends of Toppenish Creek notified View Point Dairy, owned by Bill DeRuyter, in the Yakima Valley that they intend to sue the dairy in federal court to stop contamination of local drinking water supplies with animal waste from the confinement dairy operations.

The notice alleges that View Point Dairy's improper application and storage of manure wastes contaminates drinking water supplies in the Lower Yakima Valley with nitrates, bovine antibiotics, phosphorus, and other pollutants. Nitrates can cause severe health problems such as blue baby syndrome, several forms of cancer, autoimmune system dysfunction, and reproductive problems. Dairies in the Lower Yakima Valley, including View Point Dairy and other dairies the groups have brought to court, create massive amounts of manure pollution. As a result, 12% to 20% of Lower Yakima Valley domestic wells have water that is unsafe to drink. The notice of intent specifically alleges that wells located downgradient from the View Point Dairy are contaminated with dangerous levels of nitrate.  

"CARE's fight against polluting dairies in the Lower Yakima Valley is not over," said Helen Reddout, President of CARE. "We will keep at it until the dairy industry stops polluting."

Charlie Tebbutt, lead counsel for the groups, said "the State has known about View Point Dairy's mishandling of its manure for years, but done nothing about it." Mr. Tebbutt highlighted the state public records which show the facility's "contaminated fields, inadequate and leaky lagoons, and seeping compost areas, all of which cause widespread groundwater pollution and contaminated drinking water. Plaintiffs' lawsuit will hold View Point Dairy accountable for this pollution."

"People who live in the Lower Yakima Valley should have the same access to safe, potable water, as their fellow Washingtonians in Seattle and elsewhere. The purpose of this lawsuit is to ensure that access and provide clean water for everyone," said Jean Mendoza, executive director of the Friends of Toppenish Creek.

 "This case is another example of what happens when state and federal governments fail to protect their communities," said Amy van Saun, senior attorney with Center for Food Safety and co-counsel for the groups. "View Point Dairy routinely provides information to Washington regulators evidencing their misuse of manure. Rather than address this misuse, those regulators have allowed it to continue, unabated, for far too long. This action will hold View Point Dairy responsible for its pollution, because no one in our country should be forced to drink unsafe water."

In addition to Tebbutt, CARE, Friends of Toppenish Creek and the Center for Food Safety are represented by the Terrell Marshall Law Group, PLLC and the Law Office of Andrea Rodgers, both in Seattle, Washington.

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