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 1997-2012, 13 CAFOs were constructed or expanded from smaller operations in our area. 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 4,680 violations and discharges, many of them
multiple-day violations, confirmed by the Michigan Department of Environmental
Quality in our area (see violations list).
Western Lake Erie Basin - CAFO Manure Inputfor 2014 Total CAFO Animals (all species) in Western Lake Erie Watersheds = 10,780,450 Total CAFO Annual Manure (liquids and solids) in Western Lake Erie Watersheds = 4,940,084,855 lbs
See full data: total CAFO animals/manure by facility, based on numbers reported to Michigan DEQ and State of Ohio Livestock Permitting database. Notify ECCSCM if you find omissions or errors, we update the data periodically.
CAFO animals, waste totals* in our area (Bean Cr & River Raisin Watersheds of Michigan)
34,633animals, mostly cows, producing each year 163,827,000 gals. of liquid waste and 143,000,000 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 (or 5 Lansings!)
* when Milk Source reaches permitted capacity soon. Source for CAFO data: DEQ Annual 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.
STENCH/EMISSION ALERTS, details/photos CAFO application on snow-covered and frozen ground, timeline documentation from neighbors
Recent News- Thanksgiving, 2014 to now. (For previous years, see News Archives with details and photos 2000-2015) Research/Studies - national and local research on CAFO risks to water, air, public health; also ECCSCM hand-out with recent books/films
New violations: Terrehaven CAFO, Adrian (River Raisin/Lake Erie Watershed) – 10 years of noncompliance 2005-2015, with production area lacking waste containment; periodic runoff and discharges; compliance schedules not met; manure lagoons not evaluated to see if they meet standards, and other violations. Production area runoff was first noted in Feb 2005. As of Jan 2015, Terrehaven was still out of compliance with a DEQ Violation Notice from Nov 8, 2013 ordering containment of all CAFO production area waste. On Jan 29, 2015, DEQ asked Terrehaven to submit yet another "timetable" for construction of the CAFO waste collection system by May 1, 2015... "To ensure that this issue is addressed in a timely manner." Terrehaven is also still out of compliance with evaluation of waste storage structures and is required, yet again, to submit "a schedule" for the evaluation of the north storage lagoons by March 1, 2015, to bring them up to standards by Aug 1, 2015.
For more details, and DEQ letters since 2005, newly-available, documenting the decade of Terrehaven production area violations, repeated and un-met Schedules of Compliance over 7 years, and a discharge of liquid manure in March 2010 "over the driveway and into the back barnyard. Ice and snow dammed up the manure until it flowed over the top..." see Violations list.
Feb 23 - ON FROZEN AND SNOW-COVERED GROUND - multiple manure applications by Hartland Farms CAFO, Bleich CAFO (2 locations), and Warner Farms (details, photos on Stench Alerts). Of serious concern, with severe cold for two weeks and small tributaries frozen, 2 drains downstream from New Flevo Dairy CAFO and Marowelli Farms are flowing, with unnatural color and foam:
2-23-15 - drain at New Flevo Dairy CAFO, flowing to Wallace Dr, a tributary of Hazen Cr.
2-23-15 - Seeley Dr at Forrister Rd, just east of Townley, downstream from Marowelli Farms. Seeley Dr flows to Posey Lake.
Feb 3 - Feb 3 - ON FROZEN AND SNOW-COVERED GROUND - Bakerlads CAFO manure application, again. Details on Stench Alerts.
Jan 28, 2015 - 10 points, to protect our waters - Comments to DEQ on draft CAFO General Permit. ECCSCM, Sierra Club Michigan Chapter, and Socially Responsible Agricultural Project, jointly submitted extensive comments to DEQ yesterday on the draft CAFO Permit. These Comments were supported by national and regional groups signing on, including The Ecology Center, Michigan League of Conservation Voters, Center for Food Safety and others. The Comments focus on 10 important changes for the 2015 CAFO Permit to protect our watersheds, our health, and our Great Lakes. A few points are:
1 - Ban CAFO waste application on frozen ground and snow-covered ground to eliminate risk of discharges in these conditions.
2 - Require the same permit coverage for large and medium CAFOs, and the same requirements for manifested waste as for CAFO waste.
3-10 - strengthening soil testing, strengthening surface and groundwater monitoring, public participation on all significant facility changes, and more.
See full ECCSCM, SC, SRAP Comments. See also Legislators' letter to DEQ supporting these changes.
Jan 27 - ON FROZEN AND SNOW-COVERED GROUND - More CAFO waste applications by Bakerlads and Hartland Farms, along Cadmus Rd west of Morey
Jan 20 - See details of a multi-year discharge from 14 yrs ago, Jan 2001, just added to Violations list - FOIAed DEQ documents were first seen this week, Jan 2015. Bleich CAFO, Hudson, was cited for a discharge of contaminated stormwater to a tributary of St. Joseph Cr. In a DEQ letter to Bleich CAFO dated Oct 8, 2004 - more than 3 years later! - DEQ reported contaminated stormwater was still draining and discharging to waters of the state.
Jan 16 - See Media Alert from Michigan Chapter Sierra Club, ECCSCM, and Socially Responsible Agricultural Project, on how and when to provide your comments to DEQ on the 2015 CAFO General Permit. Help protect Lake Erie and all of Michigan's watersheds. Ask DEQ to prohibit CAFO waste application on frozen or snow-covered ground at any time, and between Dec 15 and Mar 15, no matter the soil conditions.
Jan 15 - Big news on two fronts today: 1)Groups win landmark victory against 4 CAFOs in Oregon. The Center for Food Safety and Community Association for Restoration of the Environment (CARE) won summary judgment from the U.S. District Court of Eastern Washington, confirming that "the manure management practices of these industrial dairies may contribute to drinking water contamination, are insufficient to protect public health and the environment, and that these industrial dairies should be held responsible." More details and links here. 2) Chipotle, a corporation with a great history of support for sustainable farming practices, pulled pork from many of its menus yesterday, Jan 14, "after the company discovered that an unnamed supplier had violated its animal welfare policies." The pressure is on animal producers to be safe and humane. See more details here.
Also Jan 15 - ON FROZEN AND SNOW-COVERED GROUND - 2 CAFOs spreading manure: Hartland Farms and Bakerlads, both in Hudson Twp.
Jan 13 - ON FROZEN AND SNOW-COVERED GROUND - Bakerlads CAFO spreading solids just north of the South Branch of the River Raisin, on east side of Morey Hwy, north of Beecher Rd.
Jan 12 - Iowa's largest city sues over farm pollution in rivers - "Des Moines, Iowa, is confronting the farms that surround it over pollution in two rivers that supply the city with drinking water. Des Moines Water Works says it will sue three neighboring counties for high nitrate levels in the Raccoon and Des Moines rivers. It's a novel attempt to control fertilizer runoff from farms, which has been largely unregulated..." An idea for Toledo?
Jan 2 - ON FROZEN GROUND - Voluntary compliance? (NOPE) with DEQ's request to CAFOs to stop manure application on frozen or snow-covered ground in Lake Erie Watershed. Two CAFOs here are applying both liquid and solid manures today, on ground frozen solid. New Flevo/Waterland Dairy CAFO is hauling to at least 3 locations: spraying liquid manure just west of the village of Onsted, on a field not included in their CNMP; also spraying liquid manure on Shepherd Rd, east of Pentecost Hwy in Adrian Twp.; and also spreading solids on Forrister Rd, 1/2 mi. east of Wilkinson, with no setback from a tile riser. Elsewhere, north of Hudson, Bleich CAFO is also applying manure on frozen ground. (See Stench Alerts for more details and photos).
1-2-15 - New Flevo/Waterland spraying CAFO waste on frozen ground, a field at Slee and Brooks Rd not in their CNMP, just west of Onsted.
1-2-15 - New Flevo/Waterland waste on Forrister Rd east of Wilkinson, with no setback from tile riser.
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, apparently 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).
12-7-14 - Hudson Dairy liquid manure dump box being filled from tanker; household wellhead circled at right.
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."
11-28-14 - Hudson Dairy draglining liquid CAFO waste in Pittsford Twp, application on frozen ground.
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. 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.