Dairy defends lagoon

By Casey Peacock: PNT Staff Writer

The owner of a dairy that was the source of a complaint before the Roosevelt County Commission said he is following state regulations and is doing everything possible to be a good neighbor.

Kevin Breshears, owner of the Stepping Stone Dairy south of Portales, said the runoff lagoon he is building that generated a neighbor’s complaint will not cause any problems.

“The state Environmental Protection Agency mandated me to build a lagoon to allow the water to evaporate,” Breshears said. “It’s all mandated by the state; it’s not a choice I had.”

The lagoon is designed to evaporate and be more environmentally friendly, Breshears said. A chemical will be added that will move solids to the bottom and minimize the smell of the dairy runoff, he said.

The dairy was built in 1969, Breshears said.

Johnny and Jeanell Paiz, whose property adjoins the dairy, expressed concerns to the Roosevelt County Commission on Tuesday that the lagoon would permeate the air with odor, could runoff onto their property, and decrease property values in the area.

Johnny Paiz believes the county should enact zoning and nuisance ordinances to prevent dairies from infringing on neighboring property.

According to Roosevelt County Commissioner Gene Creighton, the Commission has elected to study the matter before any action can be made to institute zoning variances. If zoning were to take place, it would be a big undertaking for the county, he said.

“It’s a tough subject. There’s not really a good answer for it,” Creighton said.
Paiz told commissioners the lagoon would be located within 400 feet of his back door. He said it was as big as five football fields.

The lagoon is 325 by 450 feet and 14 feet deep, Breshers said. To prevent humans, livestock or other animals from getting into the lagoon, a five strand barbwire fence will placed around the lagoon once it is completed, he said.

Breshears said the lagoon is closer to 600 feet away from the Paiz’ property. He also has built a berm on the south side of the property to prevent water from over flowing onto either the Paiz property or any other neighboring properties

Breshears purchased the 1,100-head dairy in January and he said the previous owners used the land application method to dispose of the runoff water.

The lagoon will include a liner that will prevent moisture from seeping through and the water will be treated for mosquitos, Breshears said.

“I’m going to do everything possible to be the best possible neighbor I can be,” Breshears said.

Breshears said he will continue to apply the runoff to cropland until the lagoon is complete.

“This evaporative lagoon is the only way this dairy can operate,” Breshears said. “Everything is done and inspected to state standards,” Breshears said.