High Levels of Cryptosporidium Found in Rice Lake Drain, Lenawee County, MI
Environmentally Concerned Citizens of South Central Michigan (ECCSCM) disclose results of DEQ study which finds extremely high levels of deadly pathogen immediately downstream from VanderHoff Haley Dairy CAFO (www.nocafos.org)
Cryptosporidium, a pathogen responsible for the deaths of 104 people in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1993, has been found in large quantities in a county drain downstream from a dairy concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) in Lenawee County, according to an unreleased report from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality obtained through the Freedom of Information Act by the citizen’s group Environmentally Concerned Citizens of South Central Michigan (ECCSCM). ECCSCM has posted the details of the report on their website at http://www.nocafos.org/crypto.htm . The DEQ has reportedly informed the downstream community of Blissfield, which draws its drinking water downstream from the test location, about the October 22 test results, however no public warning has been made to assure that other users of the Rice Lake Drain, Bear Creek, Black Creek and the Raisin River downstream of the site are taking precautions.
Cryptosporidium is a tiny protozoan that causes diarrhea and other severe gastrointestinal illness. The organisms are found in wastes from humans and animals and in Milwaukee the contamination was believed to originate from inadequate treatment of drinking water, possibly contamination of filtered water with raw, untreated contaminated water. People with compromised health, such as the elderly, the very young, or those afflicted with HIV or other diseases are most at risk of death from cryptosporidiosis.
Under the Freedom of Information Act, ECCSCM obtained a Michigan State University study for the DEQ that found cryptosporium levels in extremely high numbers in Rice Lake Drain water samples taken on October 22, 2004. The ECCSCM site notes that: "The Rice Lake Drain water sample of 10/22/04, tested at MSU's Water Quality Lab, had a Cryptosporidium concentration of 2,600 oocysts/100L and 860/100L infectious oocysts.... Studies show humans have a 20 percent infection rate at 30 oocysts, a 40 percent infection rate at 100 oocysts."
Just five days before this water sample was taken, a volunteer with ECCSCM and Sierra Club reported apparent contamination at the site. ECCSCM notes “Rice Lake Drain has been the site of repeated manure discharges, leading the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to file suit against the (VanderHoff Haley dairy) CAFO in August, 2004, because of 'at least' seven discharges of animal waste to the Rice Lake Drain and Bovee Drain."