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Manure spill enters northeastern Wisconsin creek


July 18, 2017, Freedom, WI – A manure spill at a 950-cow dairy farm in northeastern Wisconsin ran into a local creek that feeds into the Fox River.

The spill was reported on Monday and a temporary clay dam has been installed to contain the runoff.

An agricultural runoff specialist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said it’s not known how much manure entered Dutchman’s Creek located outside of Freedom, southwest of Green Bay.

Ben Uvaas said the dairy farm responsible reported at least 20,000 gallons of manure were released from a holding pit.

“The farm estimates 20,000 gallons was lost from the pit,” Uvaas said. “So out of that a fraction, a percentage would have gotten to Dutchman’s Creek. That’s probably the best estimate we’re ever going to have for this.”

Uvaas said the farm worked quickly to contain the spill by having a contractor build a clay berm.

“It’s fairly water tight. Those are built up perpendicular to the flow in the creek kind of like a ‘mini dam,'” Uvaas said. “And as that water fills up behind the berm, it becomes deep enough where equipment like a septic truck or vacuum truck can reach in there with a hose and collect that water.”

Uvaas doesn’t have authorization to issue fines for spills, but violations can be referred to the state Department of Justice.