Landowners win appeal to sue cow farm

DES MOINES — A northeast Iowa couple has won an appeal of their lawsuit against a neighboring cattle farm and can seek damages for repeated manure spills onto their property.

The Iowa Court of Appeals said Wednesday that Lee and Rita Dvorak may pursue damages against Oak Grove Cattle, a feed lot near Rice-ville that once held as many as 1,000 cows but closed in 2016.The court’s decision reverses a judge’s dismissal of the lawsuit in August 2018. The judge concluded the Dvoraks waited too long to file but the appeals court says the manure was a continuing problem and the statute of limitations didn’t apply.

The couple dealt with manure flowing onto their property from 2009 to 2016 and spent thousands of dollars to empty and refill a contaminated farm pond and clean up their property.An attorney for Oak Grove farm and owner David Eastman did not immediately respond to a message.

Wastewater plant spill causes fish kill in creekOSCEOLA — State environmental officials are tracking a wastewater spill in south-central Iowa that has caused a fish kill in White Breast Creek near Osceola.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources said the Osceola wastewater treatment plant reported Wednesday that a large amount of sludge from its plant had spilled into the creek. The DNR said that caused oxygen levels to drop and ammonia levels to spike.

The department says the city is pumping water from the creek back into the treatment plant in an effort to limit pollution downstream.

The department says people and animals should avoid direct contact with the stream as the sludge contains high amounts of human waste and pathogens.

The Associated Press

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