Acting on a tip, state environmental inspectors in February paid a surprise visit to a dairy farm in Eatonton. They found the owner pumping gallon upon gallon of liquefied cow manure into a freshwater pond.
From there the toxic brew leached into neighboring streams, the inspectors said.
Seven months later, the farmer signed a consent order agreeing to bring his farm up to regulations, update some equipment and take classes on managing the huge amounts of manure his cows generate. (A single dairy cow may produce an astonishing 140 pounds of manure a day.)
The Georgia Environmental Protection Division chose not to fine the Eatonton farmer.
In a state with dozens of "concentrated animal feeding operations" - also known as factory farms - Georgia environmental authorities do not often cite farmers for polluting water with animal manure. And fines against factory farms are rarer still.