OLYMPIA -- A former Whatcom County dairy farmer received a two-year suspended sentence May 3 for illegally dumping manure into a tributary of Anderson Creek, about 20 miles east of Bellingham.
Carl Post, 66, pleaded guilty in Whatcom County Superior Court to two counts of criminally violating the Washington Water Pollution Control Act. The charges were filed by the Washington Attorney General and the Whatcom County Prosecutor.
In addition to the two-year suspended jail sentence, Superior Court Judge Michael F. Moynihan sentenced Post to pay a $5,000 criminal fine.
As part of a concurrent civil settlement with the state Department of Ecology, Post shut down his dairy operation and is in the process of selling his farmland. He agreed not to own or manage a dairy farm or business in the future and will pay an additional $30,000 civil fine to the state.
According to court documents, Post was charged after a Department of Ecology dairy inspector found a trench dug from a concrete slab where manure collected on Post's property to a ditch that drained into Anderson Creek. The inspector also found a pipe used to drain manure from a dairy shed into a ditch that flowed into the creek.
A followup inspection determined that the flow of manure into the pipe had not been stopped, and that the pipe opening had instead been hidden from view. Water samples taken during the inspections showed extremely high fecal coliform levels in the ditch downstream of where the manure was being discharged.
According to court papers, Post had previously received numerous fines and violation notices from the Department of Ecology.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Criminal Investigation Division and the Department of Ecology. It was then referred to the Attorney General's Office and the Whatcom County Prosecutor.