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William Schlafer  
#1 Posted : Sunday, February 25, 2018 5:35:45 PM(UTC)
William Schlafer
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The WDNR has published a draft report - as required by the EPA - regarding the discharge of pollutants into the waters along the Wisconsin River basin, from it's headwaters to Prairie du Sac. It covers part of the north eastern section of the Driftless Area including watersheds of the Baraboo and Lemonweir Rivers.

Manure runoff from CAFOs are the largest contributors of this pollution to the Wisconsin River basin. It's notable that by law these businesses are required to have zero discharge of pollutants from their production areas. However this doesn't cover manure from these operations spread onto farm fields which runoff into the waterways.

The document is 103 pages long, and is unfortunately in PDF format - which depending upon your computer will be slow to load and bog it down. This Wisconsin State Journal story spells it out, if you don't care to slog though the report.


-Bill

“You'll never look back on your life and wish you had spent more time in the office." -- Brian Trautman, Captain SV Delos
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weiliwen  
#2 Posted : Monday, February 26, 2018 1:40:37 PM(UTC)
weiliwen
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It's a shame, but given the current administration, not likely that anything will be done about it.
Bob Williams, "Weiliwen"
William Schlafer  
#3 Posted : Monday, February 26, 2018 6:28:35 PM(UTC)
William Schlafer
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The sad part is there's little enforcement to prevent runoff issues from happening. CAFOs hire some outside company (or just some guy) who puts the manure wherever and whenever he sees fit. The CAFO then literally washes their hands of the issue by claiming they have no control over it. Any fines generated are treated as just a cost of business.

Now granted, there are reputable operators out there that do a good job of following the rules and making sure that field applied manure doesn't runoff directly into the watershed. But we've seen a number of times where this wasn't so, and the effect on a Trout stream is deadly.

This time of year, manure spread on a suspect field over the winter can runoff when a quick warm up occurs, like were seeing right now. Hopefully we'll have no major events this spring.


-Bill
“You'll never look back on your life and wish you had spent more time in the office." -- Brian Trautman, Captain SV Delos
weiliwen  
#4 Posted : Monday, February 26, 2018 9:42:42 PM(UTC)
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"Any fines generated are treated as just a cost of business." Exactly. These folks consider it not a fine, just a fee. Nothing will change unless and until the fine is a cessation of business. We've already seen that CAFO's continue to operate even in absence of an operating license.
Bob Williams, "Weiliwen"
s.t.fanatic  
#5 Posted : Thursday, March 8, 2018 2:29:46 PM(UTC)
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Wi. is not the only one with this problem. Mark Dayton has made great strides with his clean water agenda in MN. There is still going to be nothing done to farmers with manure leaving their fields and entering trout streams. Wrist slap fines at best. I have two co workers that trout fish a ton in the winter months (somewhat seasonal jobs) They were on a stream last week when we had that warm spell. They were hammering the fish left and right. All of the sudden that changed. They said you could watch the water go from crystal clear to shit and piss color in under 2-3 min.

We all cry about farmers spreading manure but that cant and will never change. The amount of money spent on easements and wasted on habitat projects would go a lot further and benefit the trout much more if it was paid to farmers to not farm along streams (50 foot buffer in MN that has been on the books for 30 years that is finally being enforced) and pond/dyke installation/maintenance in the uplands at the bottom of every water way. And you dont need some government soils engineer to spend most of the money either. Any redneck on a bulldozer for $80/hr can handle building a retaining pond.
weiliwen  
#6 Posted : Friday, March 9, 2018 12:34:02 AM(UTC)
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The thing is, there is a much better use for that manure. These CAFO's can collect the manure, put it in tanks, and put a cap over the tank. The manure will naturally "brew," creating methane, which can be used to heat water or generate electricity. Then, when the manure is no longer generating methane, it will be chemically "cool." The manure can be dried and sold at garden stores or spread in dried form on fields. It's being done extensively in 3rd world nations, and also in my home state of Oregon, where coastal dairy farms do this (although they don't have CAFO's there). So there are alternatives to what is (or more precisely, is NOT) being done in Wisconsin.

I heard a agronomist (I think that's the proper word) who said that spreading cow shit on fields is the biggest advance in agriculture since the invention of irrigation. But it has to be done right. On the Oregon coast, the ground never freezes, so the manure soaks into the fields. It's still not good to spread raw manure on the fields, though - much better to let the methane cook off.
Bob Williams, "Weiliwen"
s.t.fanatic  
#7 Posted : Friday, March 9, 2018 7:41:22 PM(UTC)
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There is a farm near me that has a bio reactor but as far as i know it is only one of two in the state of minnesota. It's an economics problem not an issue with BMP's.
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