CLOVIS, N.M. (KRQE) – The state of New Mexico is helping the family who had to euthanize thousands of cows at a dairy in Clovis because of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) contamination. The state says Highland Dairy was forced to euthanize 3,665 cows, the entire herd, with an estimated expense of at least $5,946,462.
The New Mexico Environment Department is overseeing Highland Dairy’s plan for disposal of the PFAS-contaminated livestock which is required for the dairy to qualify for cow indemnity under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Indemnity Payment Program. In the first phase of the plan, the dairy will compost all PFAS-contaminated carcasses on the farm. In the second phase, the diary will conduct a PFAS analysis of the composted material and any other material in order to determine final removal and disposal options.
The state Environment Department says it has also allocated $850,000 of its hazardous waste emergency waste for clean up of the carcasses and associated wastes. The department estimates it has now spent over $6M to protect communities from PFAS. “All states are dealing with PFAS and the agricultural industry. That’s not uncommon. What is uncommon is that New Mexico has the first case to my knowledge in which 3,600 cows have been euthanized. We’re treating PFAS like it should be treated, a hazardous waste,” said James Kenney, Secretary of the New Mexico Environment Department.
In a press release, the Environment Department called out the U.S. Department of Defense saying it had caused the contaminated water at Cannon Air Force Base and should be on the hook for costs associated with clean up.