[Date Prev][Date Next][Date Index]

E-M:/ CAFO Manure Discharge Tests a 1,900 Times State Max E.Coli Limit

Enviro-Mich message from "Anne Woiwode" <anne.woiwode@sierraclub.org>

News from Michigan Sierra Club

For Immediate Release			Contact: Anne Woiwode 517-484-2372
December 27, 2001

Animal Factory Manure Discharge Tests At 1,900 times State Maximum E.Coli
Levels: Lenawee County Facility Already Under USEPA Order:
Second Facility Nearby Has Massive Violation Following Day

	A Lenawee County womanís complaints against two dairy concentrated animal
feeding operations (CAFOs) for discharging manure wastes into county drains
has yielded staggering levels of E.Coli bacteria contamination of the
effected drains. Michigan Department of Environmental Quality laboratory
tests obtained last week found samples of water downstream of one facility
to contain 570,000 E.Coli colonies per 100 milliliters, or 1,900 times the
stateís maximum standard for E.Coli in surface waters.  Sierra Club released
these results today to illustrate that Michiganís voluntary compliance
program for water pollution from animal factories is failing to do the job.
The State faces a deadline from USEPA for submitting a plan for bringing
CAFOs under water permits December 31 (see related press release).

	According to MDEQ records, Brad Hart, owner of Hartland Farms, spread
100,000 gallons of manure on a 50-acre field on November 29th, a day when
almost an inch of rain fell in the area. Samples collected by MDEQ included
a total of three with over 550,000 E.Coli per milliliter, and three
additional at over 300,000. Witnesses to the incident claim that Hart was
spreading the liquefied manure in the pouring rain.  Reportedly, the
discharge from this field continued for a week after the incident was
reported, despite remedial actions allegedly taken by Hart.  An EPA
Administrative Order issued in September 2000 prohibits Hart from spreading
manure on his fields within 72 hours of a predicted rain event. A few years
prior to the EPA Order, Hartland Farms also caused a massive spill of
manure, which flowed into Lake Hudson, the site of a popular state
Recreation Area.

A second dairy CAFO nearby, the Jelsma Dairy, contaminated surface waters
with manure the following day also as a result of poor practices. Tests
showed contamination of waters downstream from the Jelsma field at rates
more than 133 times the maximum limits for E.Coli bacteria (three samples
tested at over 40,000 E.Coli per 100 milliliters).  Jelsma Dairy, according
to MDEQ reports, had spread manure on a short stand of hay and up to the
edge of the field where it meets a ditch.  Like Hartland, the Jelsma
discharge occurred when rain washed the manure into a county drain.

	Lynn Henning, a Lenawee County farmer and a member of Environmentally
Concerned Citizens of South Central Michigan (ECCSCM), reported both
violations to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and later
obtained the test results through freedom of information requests.  Henning
and other members of ECCSCM have been actively seeking to bring proper
regulation of CAFOs in their community, where ten dairy animal factories
have been built in the last 3 years.  At least 10 separate water quality
violations from these facilities have occurred in the area in that time
period as well.  ECCSCM members monitor waterways in their area for
contamination, reporting violations as they are found and conducting
independent water testing.

Anne Woiwode, Staff Director
Sierra Club Mackinac Chapter
109 East Grand River Avenue
Lansing, Michigan 48906
517-484-2372; fax 517-484-3108

ENVIRO-MICH:  Internet List and Forum for Michigan Environmental
and Conservation Issues and Michigan-based Citizen Action.   Archives at

Postings to:  enviro-mich@great-lakes.net      For info, send email to
majordomo@great-lakes.net  with a one-line message body of  "info enviro-mich"