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ECCSCM meetings – 3rd Wednesday every month (except Sept and Dec), Hudson Community Center, 7:30 p.m.
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Environmentally Concerned Citizens of South Central Michigan (ECCSCM) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organized to educate the public on the health risks and the environmental damage Confined Animal Feeding Operations have brought to our community and its watersheds. We developed this website to provide documentation on the pollution here and to promote Sustainable Alternatives (buy local food & pasture-based meat).

From 1997-2000, 12 CAFOs were constructed or expanded from smaller operations in our area. In 2012, yet another CAFO. And major expansions continue. As family farmers and neighbors, we are concerned about Lake Erie, our drinking water, and the massive risk of liquid manure systems, liquid manure on tile-drained fields. Liquid manure, like rain, can drain to field tiles and discharge to streams, all flowing to Lake Erie. Discharges that violate Michigan's water quality standards are illegal. 12 CAFOs in our area have discharged illegally or violated their CAFO Permits. Since 2000, there have been 1,117 violations and discharges, many of them multiple-day violations, confirmed by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality in our area (see violations list).

spray snowspraylight

Western Lake Erie Basin - CAFO Manure Input for 2013
Total CAFO Animals (all species) in Western Lake Erie Watersheds = 12,808,065
Total CAFO Annual Manure (liquids and solids) in Western Lake Erie Watersheds = 5,041,051,506 lbs

See full data: total CAFO animals/manure by facility, based on numbers reported to Michigan DEQ 2013 and State of Ohio Livestock Permitting database. Notify ECCSCM if you find omissions or errors, we update the data periodically.

stench STENCH/EMISSION ALERTS, details, observations, documentation from neighbors on local CAFO air pollution, health concerns
stench Research/Studies, national and local research on CAFO risks to water, air, public health; also ECCSCM hand-out with recent books/films

2014 - Recent News: Aug - Dec 2014 (see News from the beginning: details and photos 2000-2014.)
Fall Newsletter - online NOW

Dec. 19 - High E. coli count, 2,300/100mL, at Moon Lake Drain, Union Rd, immediately downstream from Hudson Dairy manure-spraying shown in the video below, Dec. 7. The manure spraying was in the SW area of the tile-drained field which carries flow underground to the neighbor's property, where it surfaces as Moon Lake Drain (Bean/Tiffin/Maumee Watershed) and crosses Union Rd 1/2 mi. downstream. Water sample was taken the morning of Dec 16 during the first rainfall (.4") after manure application. Rain continued through the day. The DEQ lab result of 2,300/100mL E. coli count is more than twice the level of Michigan's Water Standard for partial body contact. Test strips for nutrients (phosphate, ammonia) were also high, ammonia at 0.25ppm, more than twice the naturally-occuring level of 0.01-0.1 in streams.

Dec 19 - Surprise! - DEQ releases the draft CAFO General Permit (5 yr permit). No surprise - no changes in winter application practices (see p. 14 of the draft); still allowed, without incorporation, if fields ranked acceptable using the Manure Application Risk Index (based on slope, vegetated cover, etc.). Public comment period starts today, Friday, December 19, with a public hearing scheduled for January 21, 2015 (see details).

Dec 17 - DEQ update on winter application - DEQ asks CAFOs in Lake Erie, Saginaw Bay, and Macatawa Lake watersheds to (voluntarily) not apply manure this winter. Letter just provided to farm, food, faith, and environmental groups, including ECCSCM, who in March this year (see News page, scroll to March 6) requested that DEQ include a ban on winter manure application in the new CAFO General Permit. The draft Permit was due for release soon. Repeated requests from the coalition for updates were met with silence - until yesterday, when DEQ supplied this letter, sent to CAFO owners in the fall. ECCSCM is pleased that DEQ acknowledges that action must be taken beyond the current Permit to protect these watersheds. However, nothing has changed in the Permit; there is still no draft 2015 CAFO Permit. ECCSCM will closely document the situation this winter, to see if this voluntary-only request is effective. Snip from the DEQ letter [our boldface]:
"All CAFO NPDES permits require six months of storage at some point during the period of November 1 to December 31 of each year. Therefore, winter application and manifesting of CAFO waste should not be necessary in order to maintain adequate storage during winter months. Please pay particular attention this fall to obtaining sufficient storage to avoid land application on frozen and snow covered ground, if at all possible..."

Dec 15 - "Dirty secrets" - DEQ dismisses researchers and citizen concerns about manure nutrients feeding Lake Erie's toxic algae, and slams ECCSCM videos of manure application as a "PR stunt." In a Detroit Free Press article today, DEQ's spokesperson isn't pleased that "a watchdog group spend its time and resources depicting regulated and approved farming practices as though they've exposed some dirty secret." Milk Source's Hudson Dairy CAFO spokesperson agrees and claims current practices are fine, "environmentally sound." Still, the dirty secret is that some current "acceptable" and "approved agricultural practices" don't protect water quality enough, don't protect Lake Erie and drinking water supplies enough, given the increase in toxic algal blooms and the devastating loss of Toledo's drinking water this summer. ECCSCM supports the International Joint Commission recommendation to ban winter application of manure and fertilizer. Ohio Farm Bureau, even, supported that ban recently. To protect Lake Erie, some Michigan agricultural practices are no longer acceptable, and must change.

NOTE: The videos the DEQ dismisses as a stunt were taken by a landowner standing on his property line, concerned about the manure practices— so much liquid manure on a sloping field with no crop, and no crop for months to come, drained by sub-surface tiles. DEQ doesn’t seem to understand the level of serious concern in our watersheds.
THANK YOU: We’re fortunate so many neighbors, landowners and farmers notify ECCSCM with their concerns for air quality and health (our Stench Alerts page) and contact us — and provide videos — when they’re concerned about water quality in streams here, which all flow to Lake Erie.

Dec 10 - Spewing of CAFO waste, diarrhetic ("abnormal frequency and fluidity of fecal evacuations" def. Dictionary.com), continues in Bean Creek Watershed. Milk Source's Hudson Dairy is draglining again, a mile north from Dec 7-8 location in Pittsford Twp.

Dec 7-8 - Milk Source's Hudson Dairy is spraying massive amounts of liquid manure (see video below), same field as Oct 13, Waldron Rd & M-34 west of Hudson. The dump box and tankers are unloading next to a residence, VERY close to the household wellhead (circled in RED below), and directly across the road from the Seventh Day Adventist Church and School. Tractor is draglining as far as the hose will reach; beyond that, tanker-trucks are driving across the field at the far SW end, spraying on a slope so steep the trucks can barely drive up. (See 5 videos on ECCSCM's YouTube channel).

wellhead
12-7-14 - Hudson Dairy liquid manure dump box being filled from tanker; household wellhead circled at right.

Thanksgiving weekend:
Nov 28 - manure application on frozen ground - Promises, promises, broken promises. In talks before bringing in cows, Milk Source said it had no intention of applying manure on frozen or snow-covered ground. See County Commissioner Jim Driskell's statement of Milk Source "policy" in Adrian Daily Telegram article, March 16, 2014: "Milk Source has a policy of not spreading manure on snow or frozen ground, he [Driskell] said, a practice of some farmers that has created controversy in Michigan and elsewhere." HOWEVER, Milk Source's Hudson Dairy is hauling liquid CAFO waste and draglining on frozen ground, 4 or more tankers running. Field is black. A grassed waterway cuts through this field, drains to Bean Creek. (More photos on Stench Alerts)

Broken promises - and worse, the manure application today and also another waste application Nov 26 appear to be clear violations of Hudson Dairy's own DEQ CNMP (large file, 15 MB, signed July 1, 2014), which states on p. 2: "The producers will not apply any wastes to frozen or snow covered ground as they have plenty of manure storage and it is not allowed on their current permit approval." Also, p. 53: "No manure is applied on frozen or snow covered ground since they have adequate storage and it is prohibited with their current DEQ permit approval." Also p. 54: "The producers will not apply any wastes to frozen or snow covered ground as they have plenty of manure storage and it is not allowed on their current permit approval."
dragroll
11-28-14 - Hudson Dairy draglining liquid CAFO waste in Pittsford Twp, application on frozen ground.

Nov 21 - Manure-contaminated wells - Door Co, Wisconsin - Public meeting scheduled next week, Dec. 2, on replacing well water after manure application Sept 8-9 contaminated well water and sickened 7 people. See recent articles on tracing the contamination (bovine) and struggles to replace residents' well water: Nov 21: article on upcoming meeting; Nov 14: article "Seven sickened by tainted wells." At a meeting of the County Soil and Water Dept on Nov. 19, many of the residents of the contaminated area "reported details of family members getting violently ill, a beloved German shepherd dying, and the many hardships associated with living in a home where you can’t drink, cook with or even bathe in the water."

Nov - Terrehaven CAFO is still not cleaned up. More than a year since DEQ filed an Administrative Consent Order (Nov 6, 2013) against Terrehaven in Adrian, production area runoff is still not contained. The Order cited Terrehaven's violations of Michigan’s water protection law and of the CAFO’s Permit, and required evaluation of storage structures. DEQ also sent a Violation Notice to Terrehaven later in Nov 2013 and again in May 2014 for contaminated runoff from the production area (see details on violations list). After all this time, containment walls around silage and stacked manure still have large gaps. Why doesn't DEQ say, "Build a wall. It's the law. Do it now."
Below, aerial photos of Terrehaven production area on both April 2 and Oct 22 show runoff at several locations, with pooling to low areas west of the facility, and apparent flow onto a neighbor’s property.
april2014verticalsrap
4-2-14 - breaks in Terrehaven production area containment show paths for runoff, pooling in low areas; some walls over-topped, on the left.

oct22verticalsrap
10-22-14 - large gaps in Terrehaven containment and overtopping of low barriers still visible, allowing runoff, apparently flowing onto neighbor's property.

Oct 22 - Bruinsma Dairy CAFO in Morenci is spraying liquid manure in 3 locations - extreme emissions, "horrible, just as bad as you can imagine," and aerosolization from a broad tank spray on Wolf Rd east of North Morenci Rd. See Stench Alerts for more photos.
bruinsma1
10-22-14 - Bruinsma spraying corn stubble black, on Wolf Rd east of North Morenci Rd.

Oct 18 - A Daily Telegram article today reports Milk Source will close some lagoons at both Hudson and Medina Dairy CAFOs. In the article, Milk Source also responds to the geyser of waste photo taken by ECCSCM last Sunday: "The photo was taken at the end of the application process when the hose was being cleared, said Avi Stern, communications manager for Milk Source...Once the hose-cleaning process was completed, she said, nutrients were properly integrated into the soil."
However, questions remain about the intensity of the "blowing out" and continued application, leading to ponding of waste in the field.
ponding
Sunday, Oct 12 - Milk Source manure application complete, and ponding – an indication waste is either over-applied or not properly integrated into the soil.

Sunday, Oct 12 - "Horrendous." Some of the worst draglining/spewing of liquid CAFO waste we've seen around here - Milk Source's Hudson Dairy is geysering waste into the air from an open-ended dragline hose. A best practice? An acceptable practice? Not for neighbors, not for soils, not for water. Rain predicted tonight, tomorrow and Tuesday. The photos show it all (see more on Stench Alerts): the spewing aerosolization, the black field, the ponding of waste.
geysering

Oct 1 - The “Land of 10,000 Lagoons” Awards will be presented by Wisconsin's Family Farm Defenders outside the World Dairy Expo in Madison, WI this afternoon. See Family Farm Defenders' Facebook page for the complete press release. Excerpts here:
•The Biggest Straw Award – goes to Milk Source and "specifically its 4,500 head Richfield Dairy operation in Adams County. In May 2011 the DNR gave the green light to Milk Source to pump up to 72 million gallons of water per year from beneath the Central Sands after which four generous Milk Source employees gave donations totaling $85,000 to Gov. Walker's campaign fund. This sweetheart deal has been cast in doubt, though, due to a pesky citizen lawsuit and subsequent ruling on Sept. 4th, 2014 that the DNR must follow the public trust doctrine and consider the cumulative impact of such high capacity wells on the state's water resources." (see ECCSCM entry for Sept 4 below, with link to the Court ruling).
Freshest Green-Washing Award - goes to the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation/Sand County Foundation for naming (oh yes) Milk Source! as one of its nominees for their so-called Leopold Conservation Award. "Aldo Leopold may be turning over in his grave to think that one of the state's biggest factory farm cheerleaders is now using his good name in such a sordid manner."

Bulletin: new research on manure and water quality - from Bowling Green State University, a study that provides data for western Lake Erie watersheds on the impact of manure applied on frozen/snow-covered ground and within 12 hours before or after heavy rains. Water samples were taken at three farms, from tiles, surface drainage and drainage ditches after manure was applied, with numerous nutrient and bacteria tests performed. Among other findings, test results show that manure runoff after a heavy rain, or after application to snow-covered and/or frozen ground, increases dissolved phosphorus in the water. Dissolved phosphorus is the culprit in feeding toxic algae in western Lake Erie. From the abstract:"results support the findings of others that conclude that most nutrient and pathogen pollution occurs after large rainstorm events and after manure application on frozen ground." See full study: Horstman, Janelle, "The Effects that Liquid and Solid Cattle Manure Have on the Water Quality of Drainage Ditches in Putnam County, OH" (2014).

Sept 24 - Reports from Chicago meeting on Great Lakes water crisis: EPA Adminisgtrator Gina McCarthy announced the new Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Action Plan II, a broad effort to reduce runoff in Areas of Concern (Maumee River Watershed is one of them) and double the restoration of wetlands. Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel hosted the meeting of Great Lakes mayors to discuss ways to protect drinking water in light of a toxic algae bloom that shut down the water system in Toledo in August. The toxic algal threat to drinking water, as detailed in a Detroit Free Press report of the meeting, is "driven largely by a phosphorus overload from agriculture runoff that is plaguing the Great Lakes, from Green Bay, Wis., to Saginaw to the western shore of Lake Erie." Toledo mayor Michael Collins asked for an executive order declaring the Maumee River a "disastrous watershed, and it truly is. I mean the agriculture runoff is incredible." Lana Pollack of the International Joint Commission noted that "environmentalists have been lobbying for years for agricultural phosphorus reductions, to no avail. But she said they may now have some new, powerful allies. 'The voices of change will be most effective,' she said, 'if they come from a public health perspective'."
Consensus from the Chicago meeting: "The discussion is no longer just about the environmental health of the five big lakes. It's also about the health of the millions of people who rely on them for their drinking water."

Sept 4 - BULLETIN: In a Wisconsin case involving high-capacity well permits at Milk Source's Richfield Dairy CAFO, Richfield, WI, a Wisconsin judge ordered that the DNR must consider the cumulative impacts of groundwater pumping when considering new high-capacity well permitsIn a suit brought by WI Friends of the Central Sands and others, the court ruled that the DNR “took an unreasonably limited view of its authority” in not considering cumulative impact to ground and surface water levels, and that the public trust doctrine, statutes, and decades of court precedent required DNR to consider cumulative impacts.  See Wisconsin Court order; also summary and more details at Friends of the Central Sands.

Sept 2 - worst practice: Hartland Farms CAFO draglining liquid manure in the rain.
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9-2-14 - Hartland Farms dragline spewing liquid manure in heavy rain, Beecher Rd.

Sept 1 - high microcystin levels in the water at South Bass Island's State Park Beach led to a public health advisory today. A reading of 13 parts per billion was taken from a water sample at the beach, leading to the caution for children, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems to stay out of the water. Public health advisories to avoid contact with the water continue for Maumee Bay State Park beach as well.

Sunday Aug 31 - The Toledo Blade carried two front page articles on CAFO contribution to the toxic algae crisis: [our highlights]
from Corporate farms get blame as key water-pollution culprit - "Jeff Reutter, the Ohio Sea Grant and Ohio State University Stone Laboratory director, frequently makes this point to groups hearing any one of the dozens of presentations he makes each year: More than two-thirds of today’s phosphorus in western Lake Erie comes from agricultural runoff."

from Stricter rules for agriculture debated - "The greatest concern, though, is how the manure is applied to area farm fields — if the fields are oversaturated by the animal waste at the wrong time. Or if it is spread on frozen fields in the winter, allowing it to flow directly into nearby ditches and streams. Pat Nicholson, who spent decades in the sewage-sludge industry as founder of N-Viro International Corp., questions how concentrated manure becomes after it has broken down in lagoons for months. 'That’s been the key to manure use forever,' Mr. Nicholson said. 'The key word is ‘soluble.’ If you put phosphorus on the land in a soluble [liquid manure] form, it all goes straight into the water."

Summer Newsletter just posted here: Toledo water crisis and CAFO connection - how runoff from here reaches Lake Erie; & new CAFO violations.

Local CAFO info below, drawn from ECCSCM Western Lake Erie CAFO Manure database:

CAFO animals, waste totals* for our area in Michigan (Hillsdale, Lenawee Counties)

34,633 animals, mostly cows
producing each year
163,827,000 gals. of liquid waste
stored in 56 waste "lagoons," pits, ponds
and also producing
143,600,000 lbs. of solid waste

Dairy cows produce more than 20 times the waste a human produces
Waste from CAFO cows here = waste from a city of 600,000 people = Boston!

* when Milk Source reaches permitted capacity soon. Source for CAFO data: DEQ 2013 CAFO Permits for these CAFOs:
Bakerlads Farms, Bleich Dairy, Bruinsma Dairy, Halliwill Farms, Hartland Farms, Hoffland Dairy, Milk Source/Camden Dairy, Milk Source/Hudson Dairy, Milk Source/Medina Dairy, New Flevo Dairy, State Line Farms, Terrehaven Farms, White Farms.

Aug 7-11 from Stench Alerts: "Horrendous" emissions over many square miles from Hartland Farms waste applications the last 4 days along Beecher Rd, throughout the weekend. . . Numerous reports to ECCSCM about the stench from neighbors with headaches, nausea, sore throats, burning sinuses. Many people had to close windows Thurs, Fri, Sat nights. Several people had to leave their homes. Extreme emissions continue. MDARD notified, DEQ Air Division notified, also Lenawee County Health Department.

BULLETIN, Aug 2-4: 'Do not drink' water advisory issued for Toledo area - Algal toxin microcystin found in samples
From the Toledo Blade: "The City of Toledo issued a warning early Saturday morning, advising residents not to drink the city’s water...Chemists testing water at Collins Park plant found two sample readings for microcystin that exceeded the recommended “do not drink” standard of one microgram per liter...Before 8 a.m., grocery and convenience stores across the area were out of water. The city‘‍s plant provides treatment services to an area of approximately 400,000 people across 100 square miles.

Runoff from agriculture is the major contributor to Phosphorus entering Lake Erie, which feeds the toxic algae. With industrial livestock operations STILL expanding in western Lake Erie watersheds, more trouble lies ahead. When Milk Source reaches capacity, the 13 CAFOs here will have under their roofs more than 34,600 animals, most of them dairy cows, each producing 20X the waste of a human being - waste loaded with Phosphorus. And all in this small area, waste sprayed and spread on fields that drain to Lake Erie. Many voices, national voices, are at last joining researchers and water scientists in calling for action to control ag runoff. Given the urgency, ECCSCM and other groups are re-newing requests to MDARD and DEQ to take a significant first step and prohibit the application of manure on snow or frozen ground. Further action will be needed to prevent liquid manure from entering catch-basins and drainage tiles.

Examples from here: how excess Phosphorus from manure application fields flows to streams — and to Lake Erie where it feeds toxic algae.
#1 - through sub-surface field tiles that drain to streams
wallace Medinasource
Wallace Cr, with multiple tile outlets; and (right) Medina Dr, where multiple tile outlets are the point of origin for Bean Cr (Maumee Watershed)

#2 - through surface runoff into catch-basins that drain to streams
MDrunoff Dilloncatchbasin catch
Runoff from manure application field at Medina Dairy on Dillon Hwy in June; the same field in July, showing catch-basin (circled, and close-up) that drains runoff to Bean Cr (Maumee Watershed)

#3 - manure runoff from frozen or snow-covered fields
toad creek
manurerunoff wolfcreek
Liquid manure, runoff from snow-covered field through a county drain to the ice of Toad Creek; runoff to drain to Fisher Lake; manure runoff in Wolf Creek

FIND THE CAFOS IN YOUR AREA – Click on this Food & Water Watch map
cafo mpa

CONTACT INFO if you notice CAFO POLLUTION

call 24-hr PEAS (Pollution Emergency) Hotline: 1-800-292-4706

also, for
Air Pollution
(stench, strong odors)
call MDA Right to Farm: 1-877-632-1783
DEQ Air Division, Jackson Dist: 517-780-7481


and for
Water Pollution (runoff from fields, discolored stream, water with odor)
call DEQ Water Division, Jackson Dist: 517-780-7847
______

or contact ECCSCM – use this form or this email: contact-us@eccscm.org
and we will report the pollution


WHAT ARE CAFOS?
Dairy CAFOs confine 700 or more cows, often several thousand cows, in long steel barns, year-round. CAFO cows never graze. CAFOs look like factories, and they are – animal factories.

 pits blackwaste river

Untreated CAFO waste is liquified with clean groundwater – instantly polluted – then pumped to cesspits or holding "lagoons" until it is pumped again and injected or sprayed onto fields around Hudson (pop. 2500). Some manure makes good fertilizer. But too much manure, especially the liquid manure from CAFOs, is a major pollutant of soils and waterways. Animal manure and and animal carcasses contain many pathogens (disease-causing organisms such as Cryptosporidium, E. coli bacteria, Listeria – see a comprehensive list of pathogens and symptoms posted by the Environmental Protection Agency). These pathogens can threaten human health, other livestock, aquatic life, and wildlife when introduced into the environment.


 ECCSCM, P.O.Box 254, Hudson, MI 49247
 contact-us@eccscm.org
To become a member of ECCSCM
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