Dairyman Convicted of Polluting Waterway


A Magic Valley dairyman has been convicted discharging wastewater from his Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation into a federally protected waterway. A federal jury in Boise found Mike Vierstra of Twin Falls guilty of violating the federal Clean Water Act. Vierstra Dairy's Twin Falls operation includes about 1,200 animals.

Federal prosecutors alleged that Vierstra had a history of non-compliance relating to waste discharge violations. Previous violations at Vierstra Dairy have resulted in administrative penalties, including fines. Vierstra's conviction carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison or a $100.000 fine, or one year of supervised release. Sentencing is scheduled for June 6.

"Protection of our waterways from contaminants and pollutants is an essential function of the federal government," said U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson. "This prosecution serves to remind dairy operators that they must be vigilant in protecting these waterways as well."

The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division.