Keeping An Eye On Manure!!!

by Free Speech on March 8, 2012

Lodi, WI~

Lodi Valley News serving Lodi, WI & the Lake Wisconsin area with local information since Earth Day 2008.

  • Most farmers carefully manage manure, but manure improperly spread on farm fields can be carried into lakes, rivers and groundwater by rain or melting snow. Farmers lose the manure as a valuable fertilizer and the manure can cause water quality problems, contaminate drinking water wells and groundwater, and kill fish. The typical dairy cow, for example:
    • produces 7 to 8 gallons of milk a day
    • generates 150 pounds of manure a day
    • generates as much organic pollution in a day as 18 people
  • If a spill or runoff occurs, farmers are required to immediately call the DNR Spills Hotline at 1-800-943-0003 and take steps to contain the manure and minimize the damage.
  • Dozens of manure runoff events are reported to the DNR every year. The 59 runoff events reported between July 2004 and June 2005, including more than a dozen resulting in fish kills, drew significant public attention.
  • Manure spills and runoff have also contaminated several dozen private drinking water wells in recent years: between March 2006 and October 2009, 41 families with household incomes of less than $65,000 have received state compensation to replace manure-contaminated wells.
  • Large manure runoffs to surface waters can not only kill fish, but the smaller animals that make up the food chain in these streams. It can take a decade or more for the aquatic community to be restored.
  • State law requires large-scale farms or other farms with state wastewater discharge permits, known as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOS, to follow restrictions on when and where to spread manure to decrease the risk of runoff. Smaller farms are required to meet performance standards and comply with prohibitions regarding manure storage and spreading provided the farmer is offered state financial help [PDF 663KB].
  • Since 2005, when significant fish kills occurred as a result of manure runoff, DNR, the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, the University of Wisconsin System, county conservation agents and the industry itself have worked to raise awareness of the risk of winter spreading, the steps to take to contain the manure and minimize damage to lakes and rivers. Demonstrations [PDF 2.93MB] showing farmers the steps to contain manure should a spill occur and better training of manure haulers are among those efforts.
  • Proposed changes to Wisconsin’s rules to reduce runoff seek to further cut the phosphorus, found in both manure and commercial fertilizer, that runs off agricultural operations. Read the recent press release: Public hearings set for runoff pollution proposals.

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