Judge orders Addison County dairy farm to reduce water runoff and impact of manure odors on neighbors

An Addison County judge has ordered a large dairy farm to reduce the impact of its water runoff and manure odors.

In one decision made on MondayAddison Superior Court Judge Mary Miles Teachout determined that Vorsteveld Farm in Panton, through its installation of sub-field drainage and two new manure pits, created excessive water runoff and an odor “unusually harmful and offensive” to its downstream neighbors, the Hoppers.

The Hoppers sued. They didn’t ask for money, but a plan to stop the runoff and odors.

While the Hoppers suggested a remedial plan, Teachout wrote in the decision that it should be up to Vorsteveld Farm to “responsibly dispose of its own waste rather than dumping it on its neighbour’s land.”

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Vorsteveld Farm, which milks more than 1,000 cows and manages 2,500 acres of land, has already been sued and fined.

According to court documents, the farm paid a $30,000 settlement to the town of Panton after cutting trees in the town’s right-of-way.

And just four months ago, Vorsteveld Farm agreed in environmental court to pay $21,750 in state fines after it removed vegetation, dredged and filled in a wetland connected to Dead Creek in 2016 and 2017.

As part of its settlement with the state, the farm has also committed to making structural improvements to prevent agricultural runoff and implementing a wetland restoration plan.

Do you have questions, comments or advice? Send us a message or tweet digital producer Elodie Reed @elodie_reed.

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