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Poultry litter runoff reaches IA stream


April 28, 2017, Bradford, IA – Iowa Department of Natural Resources staff have determined that runoff from poultry litter located one mile north of Bradford in Franklin County reached a small tributary of Maynes Creek.

The investigation began following a complaint about chicken litter dumped in a crop field near the intake to an underground tile line.

On April 24, DNR discovered a certified commercial manure applicator from Iowa Falls had dumped the litter so he could remove his manure spreader, which had been stuck in a wet spot near the tile intake. Water samples from pooled water around the litter showed high ammonia levels where runoff entered the tile line.

The tile line was partially plugged, but investigators found some runoff flowed underground. Joined by several other tile lines, ammonia levels in the tile line were low by the time it flowed into a small, unnamed tributary of Maynes Creek. DNR staff found no dead fish in the stream.

“We recognize that accidents happen and some things can’t be prevented,” said Jeff Vansteenburg, supervisor of the Mason City DNR field office. “When something like this happens, several responses are possible including putting a plastic pipe over the tile inlet to keep runoff from going underground.”

The custom applicator has worked to remove the litter and pump up ponded runoff. He has removed contaminated litter and runoff and land applied it to crop fields. Repairs to the tile line should occur this week, weather permitting.

DNR will continue to monitor the tile discharge and consider appropriate enforcement action.