Tuls Dairies has had issues in Nebraska
Aside from the issues at Emerald Sky Dairy in St. Croix County, Tuls Dairies has dealt with infractions before. A search of public records showed:
• In June 2014, a worker at Double Dutch Dairy in Nebraska was struck and killed by a front-end loader hauling hay. An investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration revealed the driver had an obstructed view.
In November of that year, the dairy was cited and fined $22,500 by OSHA for four "serious violations," according to an OSHA news release.
"OSHA's investigation found employees were exposed to struck-by hazards and they were neither trained in safe equipment operation nor required to use seat belt restraints," the release states. OSHA said the company failed to develop, implement and maintain a written hazard communication program.
• In July 2004, Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality issued a Livestock Waste Discharge Notification to Double Dutch Dairy for over-application of wastewater, some of which reached the Big Blue River.
• In October 2015, Double Dutch Dairy received a Notification of Discharge of Livestock Waste from NDEQ after a transfer hose ruptured, sending an estimated fewer than 5,000 gallons into the Big Blue River. NDEQ was notified of the spill by Double Dutch Dairy Manager Pat Klitz.
Documents show communication between Tuls, his staff and state officials to reach compliance after each violation.
Tuls explained manure spills in terms of driving a car — with enough driving, a flat tire is inevitable.
"Our companies are driving a lot. We're the 100,000 mile-a-year guys," Tuls said. "We're going to have a flat tire and when we do we're going to address the issue and fix it as fast as possible — do whatever is we need to do for a cleanup."
No violations were found at Butler County Dairy or Rock Prairie Dairy.