Attorney general files emergency order to stop manure leak in Clermont Co. stream

Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 12:07 PM EDT
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GOSHEN, Ohio (WXIX) - Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has filed for a temporary restraining order against the owner of a dairy farm after a massive manure leak caused significant pollution of the nearby Moores Fork stream.

The motion filed on Tuesday against Charles Carney in Clermont County comes after an investigation by the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) discovered the stream was completely black with manure and extending as far downstream as one mile.

“This isn’t a farm right now. It’s a biohazard that needs to be cleaned up before more harm is done,” Yost said in a news release. “I am stepping in to start the cleanup process.”

According to Yost, Carney has a manure storage pond on his property that has overflowed and his property is full of manure. The manure even got into a nearby stream, he alleges.

Investigators with ODA visited Carney’s farm after a complaint was made of dead fish in Moores Fork.

Neighbors also said they spotted hundreds of dead fish in the stream.

Yost said ODA found livestock standing a foot deep in manure.

Carney was given an emergency order by ODA to clean up the waste but when investigators from ODA returned to the property they found he had not taken corrective action to stop the flow of manure.

The case was then referred to AG Yost.

Yost alleges in his motion for the restraining order that Carney violated Ohio’s Soil and Water Conservation laws by allowing manure-contaminated waste to enter the waterway.

Carney begs to differ, denying all the allegations.

He tells FOX19 NOW it was not manure, rather what he thinks is watermelon and cantaloupe brine.

The farmer adds that he has even taken measures to fix the overflow.

“We stopped it, we’ve contained it,” Carney explained. “We put three containments with pumps, and we’re pumping it out in the hayfields, so nothing is leaving the farm now.”

A court date has not been set.

“We are waiting for the judge to set a date. As it is stated in the release, Mr. Carney was given specific measures to take to clean up his property by ODA and he did not meet those standards. That’s why we are in court now,” a spokesman for the Ohio Attorney General’s Office said.

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