Manure Manager

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Iowa manure release causes fish kill


December 22, 2009
By Marg Land


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December 17, 2009,
Washington, IA – An estimated 4,000 to 5,000 gallons of hog manure was released
overnight on Dec. 14 and 15, during application at a NPKK Pork, LLC facility,
in Washington County.


December 17, 2009,
Washington, IA – An estimated 4,000 to 5,000 gallons of hog manure was released
overnight on Dec. 14 and 15, during application at a NPKK Pork, LLC facility,
in Washington County.

Mark Heiderscheit, an
environmental specialist with the Department of Natural  Resources, Washington office who
responded to the scene, said the manure applicator filled his tank and left to
apply the manure. The stirring device used to combine solid and liquid manure
for application was left on and shifted when it was unattended spraying the
manure out of the basin.

The manure runoff followed
a channel designed to divert rainwater from the lagoon, through a field and
settled over a tile buried beneath the snow. The tile outlet begins an unnamed
tributary of Indian Creek.

Employees with NPKK Pork
dammed the tributary on Dec. 15, and began pumping the water that they would
knife in to the ground. Heiderscheit collected water samples from the tributary
about 30 feet down from the tile outlet and found the ammonia levels at 0.8
milligrams per liter. Background level of ammonia in Iowa is 0.5 mg/l.

Heiderscheit continued to
follow the tributary downstream where he found small dead fish. Vance Polton,
fisheries technician for the Iowa DNR, was contacted to conduct a
fish kill investigation.

Heiderscheit instructed to
NPKK Pork to scrape solids from the area where manure flowed across the ground
and evenly apply in on nearby fields. He said the DNR will review the case once
all the field samples are in and the fish kill investigation is complete and
will determine any future enforcement action at that time.