Dairy operators in the Yakima Valley have reached an agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency to improve water quality in their community.

The agreement provides for long-term certainty for the dairy operators and strong, enforceable measures to protect groundwater.

The dairies have committed to take multiple steps to ensure clean water for their neighbors, to control groundwater on their property and to increase monitoring. EPA and the dairies will continue to work on long-term solutions in an ongoing collaborative process that includes many other participants.

“These are family farmers who have lived and worked in this community for decades,” said Paul Queary, a spokesman for the dairies. “They are committed to responsible business practices and working with the EPA to protect the health and safety of their neighbors.”

The agreement ends the threat of enforcement action by the EPA and lays a foundation for ongoing scientific testing of groundwater in the area and appropriate mitigation of any problems that testing finds. It calls for more comprehensive testing of the area’s water over time. The dairies will increase their efforts to control runoff and work to ensure clean water for their neighbors.

“We will continue to work with EPA to identify ways that we can scientifically evaluate the sources of nitrate in the groundwater,” Queary said. “We will live by the science, but we want that science to be driven by accurate and representative monitoring, which we are ready to implement. “

The dairies include the Cow Palace, George DeRuyter and Son Dairy, D&A Dairy, Liberty Dairy, and H&S Bosma Dairy, all located north of Granger and Outlook.

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