SHOSHONE, Idaho (KLIX)-A Lincoln County dairy and its owner has agreed to pay a fine for violating the Clean Water Act after discharging manure water into a nearby canal in 2017. According to U.S. Attorney Bart Davis, Andrew Fitzgerald, of Shoshone, and owner of 4 Brothers Dairy, Inc., pleaded guilty last week to unlawful discharge of pollutant into a water of the United States, a misdemeanor.

As part of the plea agreement, the dairy and Fitzgerald will pay fines and enroll in what is called the Environmental Prtotection Agency's CAFO National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit program with Idaho; the dairy will pay a fine of $95,000 and Fitzgerald will pay a fine of $35,000.

In February of 2017, after a record precipitation and record snowpack during the winter, extreme runoff occurred at the 4 Bros dairy. According to the U.S. Attorney's office, Fitzgerald and the diary negligently caused discharge of manure laden water into the Milner Gooding Canal at three spots, which lead into the Malad River and eventually to the Snake and Columbia rivers. “My office takes very seriously the responsibility of protecting Idaho’s precious natural resources,” said U.S. Attorney Davis said in a prepared statement. “We will not hesitate to hold accountable any company or individual that pollutes United States waterways located in Idaho. This prosecution reflects what can be accomplished by working collaboratively with the EPA and our partner agencies in the State of Idaho.”

Sentencing is set for January of 2021 for Fitzgerald and the dairy. The judge has taken into account the plea agreement, however the underlying penalty could include five years of probation and a fine of up to $25,000 per day for the dairy and one year of prison for Fitzgerald and one year of supervised release and five years of probation, including a fine of up to $25,000 per day.

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