"The dairy industry has been closely monitoring the environmental lawsuits brought by local and national activist groups against dairies in Washington’s Yakima Valley. A recently proposed settlement, precipitated by a federal judge’s decision in Washington, has the potential to impact every dairy farmer.
Manure ruled a 'solid waste'
In January 2015, in the most recent Lower Yakima Valley dairy decision, a federal judge in Washington decided that manure could be considered a 'solid waste.' Judge Thomas Rice noted that term is defined in the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) when manure is not used as a beneficial fertilizer or soil conditioner.
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington also found that a dairy farm’s manure was 'excessively overapplied' and that this could constitute disposal of a solid waste under RCRA. The judge further found that the farm’s application, storage and management of manure were tantamount to 'open dumping' in violation of RCRA."
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