Shoshone-based dairy farm 4Brothers Dairy owner Andrew Fitzgerald has pleaded guilty to the unlawful discharge of pollutants, a violation of the Clean Water Act, according to a Friday press release from the Department of Justice.
In 2017, the farm discharged “manure-laden water” into the Milner-Gooding canal, which flows into the Malad, Snake and Columbia Rivers, the department said.
“My office takes very seriously the responsibility of protecting Idaho’s precious natural resources,” U.S. Attorney Bart Davis said in the press release. “We will not hesitate to hold accountable any company or individual that pollutes United States waterways.”
For the misdemeanor violation, Fitzgerald faces up to a year in prison and up to five years of probation. Fitzgerald and his company may also face fines over $1 million as part of plea agreements, according to the press release.
The case was initially investigated by the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, Idaho Department of Agriculture and the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office. Sentencing for 4Brothers and Fitzgerald is scheduled for Jan. 14, 2021, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale.