[Date Prev][Date Next][Date Index]
E-M:/ liquid manure a pollutant on tiled fields
- Subject: E-M:/ liquid manure a pollutant on tiled fields
- From: Janet Kauffman <email@example.com>
- Date: Tue, 13 Apr 2004 09:05:19 -0400
- Delivered-To: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Delivered-To: email@example.com
- List-Name: Enviro-Mich
- Reply-To: Janet Kauffman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.0.1) Gecko/20020823 Netscape/7.0
Concerned Citizens of South Central Michigan
2-Year Water Monitoring Project
Documents Liquid Manure Pollution
Through Field Drainage Tiles
A 2-year water monitoring project at sites near Confined Animal Feeding
Operations in Hillsdale and Lenawee Counties documented severe water quality
concerns in several stream stretches where liquid manure was applied.
During 2001-2003, the volunteer monitoring project collected a total of
430 water samples at 79 sites. Conducted by Environmentally Concerned Citizens
of South Central Michigan (ECCSCM) and funded by a Community Action grant
from Sierra Club, the project sampled surface water for E. coli bacteria
and Dissolved Oxygen. For the Final Report on the ECCSCM Monitoring Project
and Total Data in Excel, see www.nocafos.org/finalreport.htm
In the River Raisin Watershed, Bear Creek and its tributaries Henning Drain
and Rice Lake Drain, showed the most frequent contamination. In the Bean/Tiffin
Watershed, where the largest CAFOs are located, at least three stream stretches
tested regularly showed serious contamination – Lime Creek Inlets to Lime
Lake, Medina Drain, and Durfee Creek.
Liquid Manure and Tile Discharges
The ECCSCM project was important in bringing to public attention the serious
problem of liquid manure discharges through field drainage tiles to streams.
During the Christmas holiday, 2003, after liquid manure application at many
locations, 10 of 12 ECCSCM water samples taken December 29, 2003, tested
at bacteria levels Too Numerous To Count (TNTC). Four of those sites were
field tile outlets flowing to Lime Lake Inlet from fields where the largest
dairy CAFO had applied liquid manure. Lime Lake Inlet sites tested TNTC eight
times during the project, and exceeded the E. coli standard of 1,000/100 ml
more than 30 times.
Because CAFO waste is liquefied, it can reach field tiles without rainfall.
ECCSCM monitoring found contaminated liquid discharging through tiles even
in dry weather.
One conclusion from the project is that, on tile-drained fields in particular,
liquefied manure is a major pollutant. Nearly 100% of manure-application
fields in Michigan are tile-drained, according to a study prepared for the
Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance program, February 2004
Total data from the ECCSCM project was submitted to the Michigan Department
of Environmental Quality. DEQ frequently responded to test results showing
extreme contamination. With their own confirming data, the DEQ cited several
CAFOs for illegal manure discharges, including multiple violations in April
2002, March 2003, and the holiday period, December 2003.
Coordinated by Janet Kauffman and Kathy Melmoth, R.N., the ECCSCM Water
Monitoring Project documented water quality violations during every month
of the year, including winter, when underground tiles sometimes still
flowed, or liquid manure melted off the surface of fields and entered catch-basins
Manure, also called nutrient, pollution increases algal growth and lowers
Dissolved Oxygen. With very low DO levels, below 3 mg/L, many aquatic species
and fish die. Several streams in the ECCSCM project tested at persistently
low DO levels. Throughout the summer of 2003, a tributary of Durfee Creek
in Medina Township did not once register above 1 mg/L – dead-zone level.
“An important question that remains and needs study,” Kauffman said, “is
the consequence of chronic manure pollution. We need to protect the living
streams and try to resuscitate the dead ones.”
ECCSCM members have met with Michigan State University researchers as
well as DEQ and the Michigan Department of Agriculture, to discuss alternatives
to the liquid/lagoon system of waste handling at CAFOs. “The liquid/lagoon
system is basically a pump and spray system,” said Melmoth. “It’s 40 years
behind the times, and uses clean groundwater that goes back on fields as
contaminated liquid. That’s not a healthy cycle.”
To protect rural watersheds and drinking water sources, ECCSCM has called
for an immediate prohibition of application of liquid manure to frozen ground
and a phase-out of the application of liquid manure to tiled fields.
ECCSCM has also called for a moratorium on new CAFOs until drier and non-polluting
waste systems are in place.
CONTACTS: Coordinators, ECCSCM Water Monitoring Project
Janet Kauffman, 517-448-4973
Kathy Melmoth, R.N., 517-523-3307