BAGLEY, Iowa -- The owners of Dahl's Custom Meat Locker want to clear the air about how animal blood, fat and bones ended up flooding their neighbor's basement due to their shared drainage system.
Co-owner Kaitlin Dahl said they had no idea that the wash from their slaughter room would somehow back up the Lestina family's basement, who live next door. The Dahl's bought the meat locker in April, and said they had been following procedures of the previous owner, which had been operating for over a decade.
"We're taking responsibility for it. It wasn't our fault, we didn't intentionally put the blood down there. We didn't want this to happen. We feel for them. I'd be just as mad as they are, in their shoes," she said.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has been investigating the incident, and said it has been working with the Dahl family to ensure this never happens again. The Dahl's put concrete over the tile that is connected to the Lestina's pipes, so she said this type of incident should never happen again. A DNR representative said, "in the meantime, one floor drain within the kill building is large enough to place a sump pump in once plugged. The facility will pump all liquids/fats out of this sump into a temporary holding tank, then transport it to a processing facility for proper disposal."
"It shouldn't have happened in the first place, but it was gray area that got overlooked for 15-20 years since the locker was first opened," Dahl said.
She also said this raises larger questions. She asked why no one noticed this when the facility was inspected before they could start operating after the purchase.
"This should be a wake-up call for the county sanitarians, the DNR and everybody that we need to do a more thorough investigation so we as business owners don't get caught in the crossfires of all this when we thought we were okay to operate and continue on the way it's been done for years," she said.
Dahl said that she and her husband do plan to help the Lestina family with financing the clean-up as soon as their basement is completely dry. She said it was miscommunication that lead the Nick Lestina to say that she was unwilling to help pay for things.
"We are arguing with our insurance company to try to get them to cover it, otherwise we will financially assist the Lestinas," she said.