Friends of Toppenish Creek

Our Mission

Friends of Toppenish Creek is dedicated to protecting the rights of rural communities and improving oversight of industrial agriculture. FOTC operates under the simple principle that all people deserve clean air, clean water and protection from abuse that results when profit is favored over people. FOTC works through public education, citizen investigations, research, legislation, special events, and direct action.

 


 

 

 

 


Friends of Toppenish Creek does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in its programs or activities.



Ostrom's Mushrooms in the News 

     In 2018 Ostrom’s Mushrooms relocated to Sunnyside, Washington with the help of a $1 million appropriation that funded improvements to the Port of Sunnyside to facilitate the relocation and keep Ostrom’s Mushrooms in Washington State. (Yakima County Development, 2018). 

     The Friends of Toppenish Creek pay attention to air and water issues in Yakima County, and we find that Ostrom’s Mushrooms has been the subject of many such issues over the years. Consequently, FOTC submitted public records requests for air and water quality complaints related to this operation which we share below. 

     FOTC received a copy of the Yakima Regional Clean Air Agency’s 2021 response to a complaint about odor from Ostrom’s Sunnyside operation. This was the YRCAA response:

Links to odor complaints and responses from the Olympic Region Clean Air Agency & WA Ecology:

Ostrom Complaints, Ostrom 8642, Ostrom 9250, Ostrom 9319, Ostrom 15727, Ostrom 16476, Ostrom 16645, Ostrom 16919, Ostrom 18236, Ostrom 18237, Ostrom 18238, Ostrom 18239, Ostrom 18268, Ostrom Email Complaints, Enforcement 2005, Enforcement 2005-1, Enforcement 2005-2, Enforcement 2005-3, Enforcement 2005-4, Enforcement 2005-5, Enforcement 2005-6, Enforcement 2005-7, Enforcement 2005-8, Enforcement 2005-9, Enforcement 2005-10, Enforcement 2005-11, Ostrom Yakima County Development, Ostrom Investigation, Ostrom Cleanup, Ostrom PCHB Finding of Fact, Ostrom PCHB Dissenting Opinion

 



Friends of Toppenish Creek Actions

 

Petition to EPA under SDWA

The Friends of Toppenish Creek and the Center for Food Safety have filed a petition asking the Environmental Protection Agency to act to protect human health and effectuate the goals of the Safe Drinking Water Act in the Lower Yakima Valley. Read the petition HERE

 

Petition to EPA to Enforce Air Regulations

For over 16 years the EPA has failed to regulate air quality related to concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). In 2021 FOTC was proud to join a national coalition of environmental groups in a petition to resume CAFO regulations for air quality. Read the petition HERE

 

Air Pollution Control Officer (APCO) for Yakima Regional Clean Air Agency

In August 2021 the Air Pollution Control Officer/Executive Director for the Yakima Regional Clean Air Agency resigned after the entire staff for the agency created a hostile work environment. After five months the YRCAA Board of Directors has still not advertised the position. This delay means that significant air pollution in Yakima County is ignored.

 

Air Quality in Yakima County

The Yakima Clean Air Agency maintains two air monitors in Yakima County – one in the City of Yakima and one in the City of Sunnyside. The monitors test for fine particulate matter but do not test for the other five criteria air pollutants, or for air pollutants such as hydrogen sulfide, ammonia or methane. During the month of January 2022 there were only six days in which all readings in Yakima were in the healthy category and no days in which all readings in Sunnyside were healthy. Click HERE to see Yakima & Sunnyside air quality in January 2022. Click HERE to read about the risk of Air Quality Non-Attainment in Yakima County.

  

Litigation against the DBD/SMD Dairy

Friend of Toppenish Creek, along with the Center for Food Safety and the Community Association for Protection of the Environment are scheduled to appear before the Ninth Circuit Court in October 2022. FOTC, CFS and CARE will prove that the DBD/SMD Dairy in Outlook has polluted the groundwater through leakage from manure lagoons, pens and corrals and overapplication of manure to cropland. Read our first amended complaint HERE

 

Leaking Manure Lagoons in the Lower Yakima Valley

Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) produce huge amounts of manure that is stored in multi-million gallon lagoons. These lagoons leak – a lot. CAFO defenders incorrectly state that lagoon leakage is minimal. Now there is proof from the Lower Yakima Valley that earthen manure lagoons discharge huge amounts of nitrogen to the underlying soils and groundwater. To learn more click HERE

 

Lorraine Loomis Act

The WA Legislature has failed to pass legislation, SB 5727 and HB 1838 the Lorrain Loomis Act, that would require buffers necessary to protect Washington Salmon from extinction. Farming interests described the issue as a choice between farming and salmon and proposed that farms are more important.  

 

South Yakima Conservation District Fails to Protect Us

In Yakima County critical aquifer recharge areas are now supposed to be protected by a Voluntary Stewardship Program (VSP) that is administered in the upper county by the North Yakima Conservation District and in the lower county by the South Yakima Conservation District (SYCD). The SYCD has a staff of two who are expected to approve Nutrient Management Plans for dairies, administer grants for irrigation updates and rent equipment for no-till farming. The SYCD is also the lead agency for administration of the Lower Yakima Valley Groundwater Management Area Implementation Program. Two people cannot do this amount of work, even if they work 24 hours a day which they do not.

 

NPDES Permit for CAFOs

In 2021 a coalition of environmental groups including the Puget Sound Keeper Alliance, Center for Food Safety, the Western Environmental Law Center, Water Keepers Alliance, Sierra Club, Community Association for Restoration of the Environment, and FOTC won a ruling by the WA State Court of Appeals that said Ecology’s 2017 National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Discharge (NPDES) permit for CAFOs was inadequate to protect the waters of the state. We are working with Ecology to draft a more effective permit that will hopefully be presented to the public in the summer of 2022. Read a CAFO Permit Press Release HERE

 

CAFOs in WA Flood Plains

As Climate Change increases Washington faces more frequent and severe flooding. Many CAFO dairies in Western Washington are located near rivers and streams. Flooding washes manure from the CAFOs into the rivers and streams and ultimately to Puget Sound and the ocean where it contributes to nutrient pollution that kills aquatic life. There is already a dead zone in Washington State. To learn more about dairies and flooding click HERE To learn where dairies are located in Washington state click HERE

 

Washington’s Inadequate Environmental Report Tracking System (ERTS)

The WA Dept of Ecology relies on citizen complaints to identify discharge of pollutants to groundwater and surface water. WA laws require investigation of dairy discharges not by Ecology but the WA State Dept. Agriculture (WSDA). WSDA generally finds no evidence and the discharges are ignored. Read about one example of ERTS mismanagment HERE


 



In June of this year 157 people out of every 100,000 had died from COVID 19 in the Upper Yakima County and 200 people out of every 100,000 had died in the Lower Yakima County


     Through a public records request, the Friends of Toppenish Creek received data from the WA State Dept. of Health regarding incidence rates and death rates from COVID 19 by zip code in Yakima County. To see that data and read FOTC analysis click here.

 


 

Yakima County - Worst Air in Washington State

 

 

Figure 8.28. Winter season NH3 emissions contributions by source for Yakima County, from the 2011 Washington Comprehensive Emissions Inventory. page 99 of the Yakima Air Winter Nitrates Study.

 

 

 



Victory for Water