August 1, 2007 / 7:37 PM / 12 years ago

Odour leads Florida agents to illegal dung depot

A horse looks out from a stable in the Christiania district in Copenhagen, July 18, 2006. A Florida man stockpiled 20,000 cubic yards (15,290 cubic metres) of horse manure on his property and was charged with running an illegal composting operation, environmental regulators said on Wednesday. REUTERS/Bob Strong

MIAMI (Reuters) - A Florida man stockpiled 20,000 cubic yards (15,290 cubic metres) of horse manure on his property and was charged with running an illegal composting operation, environmental regulators said on Wednesday.

Neighbours complained about the odour wafting from Walter Duque’s property in the rural community of Loxahatchee, where several acres were covered with manure piles up to 15 feet (4.5 metres) high, the state Department of Environmental Protection said.

Investigators suspect Duque had been accepting dump truck loads of horse manure from nearby equestrian communities in Palm Beach County, agency spokesman Stephen Webster said. They issued three misdemeanour citations for violations punishable by up to 18 months in jail and $30,000 (20,000 pounds) in fines.

Florida requires special permits for composting and storing horse manure and regularly inspects the operations to ensure ground water is not polluted, Webster said.

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