Illegal Manure Dumping Investigation in Deaf Smith County

HEREFORD, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) - Deaf Smith County not only has a stinky situation on its hands but possibly a health problem as well.

The county's District Attorney said it is a problem that could potentially damage the water supply.

There have been claims that Lone Star Calf Ranch has been participating in illegal dumping of manure in a playa. 

It looks like piles of dirt and mounds of mud decorating the desolate land next to a playa lake, but looks can be deceiving.

"There's (sic) been some people from the community who have contacted our office with concerns about what's happening out there, and so we're trying to get the sheriff's office and everybody to kind of cooperate so we can get to the bottom of it," said Criminal District Attorney for Deaf Smith County, Jim English.

In April, Smith said someone reported to the Deaf Smith County Sheriff's Office igniting the start of the investigation.

"The Sheriff's Office sent me a report may of this year, and what was alleged was that the authorities at Lone Star Calf Ranch had been depositing a lot of manure on property that's being leased by a person," said English.

We reached out to Lone Star Calf Ranch regarding this investigation but the person we spoke with told us no one was available to speak to us.

"The playa lake is important in this part of the country and the concern is that manure is deposited on there it can seep down through the playa lake down into the aquifer, which is where everybody gets there water," English said.

English told us that currently, no one has complained about a change in their water, and the lack of rain, in this situation, has helped hinder the manure from seeping in.

Besides the charges, English said the most important pressing matter they are dealing with right now is to get the manure cleaned up.

He told us the ranch is making an effort but he says currently they are not doing it right.

English said someone could receive a felony charge in this case and it would be a matter presented to the grand jury. 

He said they would have to decide whether there is enough evidence to charge the person or person's responsible with recklessly depositing, receiving, or transporting solid waste material to an unapproved site for manure disposal.

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