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E-M:/ Holiday blues -- shoo fly CAFOs and contaminated water again

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

One of the real insults of living next to some of the CAFOs in Michigan
has been that three day holidays more often than not can be counted on
as the time when the manure wastes gets spread with plenty of stench,
the surface water is full of manure and, this year for a lot of folks in
Lenawee County, the fly population grows exponentially.  Flies are a
well known vector for disease, especially when they are feasting on
liquefied feces from livestock that are rife with bacteria which are
spread next to favorite picnic areas.  

As reported to agency staff today by Kathy Melmoth, RN, "I witnessed
swarms of flies on fields at the back of the property, where the family
traditionally holds a picnic on this holiday. Swarms of flies were also
in the cab of the truck, and in my own vehicle parked by the house" at
the front of the property. The family also reported "swarms of flies on
the enclosed back porch of their house."  The stench made her become
slightly nauseous after only a few moments.  A photograph of the manure
waste next to the family picnic area was enough to make me gag -- thick,
grayish brown sludge on top of the soil and grass.

Meanwhile, the rainfall again turned waterways brown with manure this
Labor Day, and stunk up the area.  The ECCSCM, which is now beginning
their third year of water testing in the Lenawee and Hillsdale County
area, has today posted their first two years worth of data on their
website, www.nocafos.org, along with a letter to agency and legislative
leaders written by water testers Janet Kauffman and Kathy Melmoth
summarizing their findings.  The letter starts:

"After 2 years of sampling, our monitoring has verified - and DEQ has
confirmed with 44 discharge violations to CAFOs - that liquid manure and
silage leachate can enter field-tile drainage systems and pollute

"DEQ fines have helped - nobody's in denial about the pollution anymore.
But the contamination of our water hasn't stopped. Stop-gap measures
like tile plugs or gate valves only delay the contamination, as we've
seen in recent rain events, when plugs are pulled to avoid tile
blow-outs. With rain last night and continuing today, the Labor Day
holiday, tiles from manure-application fields are open and flowing

"We've seen it in every rain event. Sampling in rain on 6-12-03, all
sites downstream from liquid manure application had excessive bacterial
contamination. And the first weekend in August during rain, Vreba-Hoff 2
opened an in-line water structure, discharging all of the 8-10 million
gallons of contaminated stormwater illegally impounded for months at its
facility. DEQ had proposed treating the contaminated water, but
Vreba-Hoff delayed until heavy rain and discharged illegally to Bean
Creek Watershed. 

"Around here they call it plug-and-play."

Please read these documents on the webpage -- while progress is being
made in some policy arenas today, it is horrifying to see just how
little effect has yet been had to benefit the lives of the people who
lived here first, before the invasion of CAFOs into their community,
with the filth and health threats all around that they now see.  Can we
know that by the next three day weekend these people will at last be
freed from the water and air torture inflicted by the CAFOs of their

Anne Woiwode, Director
Sierra Club Mackinac Chapter
109 East Grand River Avenue,  Lansing, MI  48906
ph: 517-484-2372 fx: 517-484-3108 e: anne.woiwode@sierraclub.org
website:  http://michigan.sierraclub.org 

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