Peachey Dairy satisfies EPA’s federal administrative order

Peachey Dairy, which was cited in October by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for improper disposal of dead animals, has satisfied the requirements of a federal administrative order.

In a certified letter to John A. Peachey, president of the Sarasota dairy, dated Dec. 18, the EPA advised that the administrative order had been terminated and asked that Peachey continue to work with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection on its permit obligations.

“Termination of the AO (administrative order) shall not be deemed an election by the EPA to forgo any administrative, civil or criminal action or other appropriate relief under the Clean Water Act, nor will it relieve you of your obligations to comply with any other applicable federal, state or local law,” James D. Giattina, director of the EPA’s Water Protection Division, wrote.

Peachey Dairy, 3200 Verna Road, was one of nine facilities in the Southeast for which the EPA announced administrative orders to protect rivers, lakes and streams.

The unburied dead animals at Peachey Dairy were found by state and federal inspectors in March 2009.

In a letter to the Bradenton Herald, Peachey wrote:

“In 2008, a federal law was passed stating that animals disposed of as animal feed would need to have their brain and spinal cord removed. Because of this new law, the company that had been picking up our deceased animals stopped picking them up as of December 2008. Under our original farm permit issued on Nov. 25, 2005, our understanding was that deceased animals could not be buried on the farm.

“On March 23, 2009, when we were inspected by two EPA inspectors and four DEP inspectors, we explained the situation to them and they said they would let us know what we needed to do with the deceased animals. The inspectors notified us on March 25, 2009, and told us that we could bury the deceased animals on the farm. The state of Florida passed a law in 2008 (statute #823.041) requiring burial of deceased animals, but no one was notified of this new law. Apparently the EPA and DEP inspectors were not aware of it either.”

In 2003, ManaSota 88 and the Environmental Confederation of Southwest Florida, joined with the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Legal Environmental Assistance Foundation in sending 60-day notices to Peachey and several other dairies and DEP advising of their intent to sue over protection of water resources.

In his most recent letter, Peachey wrote, “The environmental groups gave a 60-day notice of threatened lawsuit for the dairy not being permitted, but they did not sue. The dairy was already complying with all required rules under the DEP. The threatened suit cited contamination of Indian Creek and Gum Slough. Peachey Dairy’s south property line is three-quarters mile from any ditch that runs into Gum Slough.

“We have been committed to following regulations for our 46 years in our multigenerational family dairy business in both Manatee and Sarasota counties. We take pride in providing safe, high quality milk to the consumer and our commitment to quality also means caring for the animals and the land. In 2004 our family was awarded the Florida Dairy Farm Family of the Year by the Florida Farm Bureau Federation. Our dairy has been host to years of Manatee Leadership Farm tours and Farm City Week tours, as well as continuous free dairy tours to school children in which we enjoy educating and involving them in an enjoyable hands-on experience.” Peachey wrote.

James A. Jones Jr., East Manatee Editor, can be contacted at 745-7021.

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