Last month’s spill that leaked thousands of gallons of manure into a nearby water creek was operating without the state’s permission.

The manure spilled from a Gevo digester that was built to recycle manure from dairy cattle to renewable natural gas that would be sold in California.

An estimated 376,000 gallons of manure were spilled from the February 7th incident. The digester is the smallest of the three Gevo built, but it can still hold 1.5 million gallons of manure.

According to Iowa Public Radio, as contractors cleaned the wastewater leak, E.coli levels in creeks downstream from the area following the leak.

According to the report, documents from the DNR say Gevo did not have permission from the state to start pumping manure through the digester when it leaked wastewater into Lizard Creek and Mud Creek. A letter detailing the violation stated that the company didn’t submit construction certifications for the digesters.

A form submitted to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission spoke about the incident.

“We promptly notified the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (the “DNR”) and began mitigation work to minimize the impact of the discharge.  The DNR has issued Gevo a notice of violation in connection with the discharge.  There is a possibility that the Iowa Department of Natural Resources will initiate an enforcement action that could result in a monetary sanction being levied against Gevo for the accidental discharge.”

Gevo said in the form that they do not expect fines from the incident to exceed $300,000.

Jacob Simonsen told Iowa Public Radio that it is unclear whether or not the permit violations played a role in the leak, however, because the facility operated without permission, they could be subject to legal action.

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