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).
In recent years (1997-2012), 13 CAFOs – most of them dairies – were constructed or expanded from smaller operations in our area. Major expansions continue. Dairy CAFOs confine 700 or more cows, often several thousand cows, in warehouse-size steel barns, year-round. 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 EPA's comprehensive list of pathogens and symptoms). These pathogens can threaten human health, other livestock, aquatic life, and wildlife.
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, which drain to streams. All streams here flow to Lake Erie. Contaminated flow that reaches a stream is a discharge. 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 in our area, many of them multiple-day violations (see violations list).
Research/Studies - national and local research on CAFO risks to water, air, public health; also ECCSCM hand-out with recent books/films
STENCH/EMISSION ALERTS - details/photos CAFO application, timeline documentation from neighbors
VIOLATIONS LIST - CAFO discharges and violations from 2000 to the present, with documentation from federal and state agencies
April - Who is enforcing what? DEQ misses deadline: Michigan's CAFO General Permit expired, as of midnight, April 1, with no new Permit issued. Revision of the Permit is required every 5 years. Public comment on the draft CAFO Permit ended in January.
April 15 - Lenawee Co Road Commission signs posted on Forrister Rd, marking road damage between New Flevo Dairy and Skinner Hwy.
April 14 - More stench for neighbors, more liquid manure on wet ground, and more road damage at several locations as manure-tankers continue hauling. More photos/details on Stench Alerts.
April 13 - New Flevo Dairy CAFO draglining with at least 5 tankers hauling to Manitou Rd, with serious road damage on Forrister Rd (see photo).
April 9 - Rain last night and rain today, with serious runoff from New Flevo Dairy manure application fields along Hoddinott Rd.
April 7 - Ohio DNR just now confirmed a manure spill in Paulding Co last month, after application to frozen and snow-covered ground and subsequent melt, with manure reaching Flat Rock Creek, a tributary of the Maumee River/Lake Erie.
April 1 - New aerial photos today show serious concerns for waste management at multiple facilities, including Bleich CAFO pumping manure across the production area (why?), lagoon-to-lagoon-to-tankers. Warner production area shows significant silage runoff. And at Terrehaven CAFO, same as the last 3 years, manure is over-topping the containment barrier at production area, and also over-topping containment at new barns at the back of property, near Black Cr., a tributary of Wolf Cr, a drinking water source for the City of Adrian. See also, at ground level, the surge of CAFO manure applications at several locations.
March 25 - Ohio passes bill that bans manure on frozen ground - In response to the Lake Erie drinking water crisis, linked in large part to phosphorus flowing from agricultural fields and tiles, the Ohio legislature passed a bill, headed to Gov. Kasich for signing, which "prohibits farmers in northwest Ohio from spreading manure on frozen or saturated fields." Important first step in protecting public health. Now, what about some action in Michigan?
March 20 - Lake Erie Water Conference at Wildwood Metro Park, Toledo, OH, included several presentations on the risk to drinking water from livestock manure and tile-drainage flow, including the ECCSCM presentation on manure data here, and a detailed slideshow by Bill Stowe, CEO and General Manager of the Des Moines, Iowa, Water Works, which recently filed a Notice of Intent to Sue several Iowa drainage districts for excess nitrate in Des Moines' drinking water. The nitrates flowing through field tiles and into county drains cost taxpayers millions in additional water treatment costs. See Stowe's full presentation, "Providing Safe Drinking Water in Agricultural Watersheds." Two slides below from his presentation show the extent of sub-surface tile drainage in 2 sq miles in Iowa (same intensive tiling as here, where phosphorus is the concern); and in the Midwest, from Iowa to the western Lake Erie Watershed.
March 11 - massive snow melt continues, with runoff from fields and livestock production areas – Warner Farms, Milk Source's Medina Dairy:
March 10 - Bulletin: Massive manure runoff from VDS CAFO field in Kalamazoo County (see video of pumping operation; DEQ comments). "...'With the warmup on Sunday [March 8], that snow started to run off the field along with the manure,' said Bruce Washburn, an environmental quality analyst for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. A stream of feces formed, flowing over 42nd Street into ditches and neighboring properties. The DEQ said it’s already working to contain it."
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.
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.
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:
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:
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).
FIND THE CAFOS IN YOUR AREA – Click on this Food & Water Watch map