In the last 13 years, 13 livestock factories, most of them dairies, have been built in our area – see map of locations. Large livestock operations that confine animals year-round are called Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs).
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 and to promote Sustainable Alternatives (buy local food & pasture-based meat--see sources). We support vanguard, responsible agriculture, farming that looks ahead to the next generations, preserves biodiversity, raises animals in a healthy environment, does no harm to its neighbors, enhances the natural assets of living communities, and protects our natural resources -- air, soils, groundwater, streams, and lakes.
As family farmers and neighbors, we believe agriculture must take responsibility for its actions in rural communities. CAFOs have failed us. They have damaged our farming communities, degraded our natural resources, and polluted our watersheds. When liquid manure enters streams or lakes, it is called a discharge. Discharges that violate Michigan's water quality standards are illegal.
CAFOs in this area, all of them, 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 the Hudson area (see violations list). A 100% failure rate in pollution prevention.
STENCH/EMISSION ALERTS, details, observations, documentation from neighbors on local CAFO air pollution, health concerns
2014 - Recent News, July - Oct 2014
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."
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.
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:
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'."
Western Lake Erie CAFO Annual Manure Inputs - ECCSCM spreadsheet with total CAFO animals by facility, total CAFO manure by facility, in River Raisin and Maumee River Watersheds, Michigan and Ohio. Based on individual CAFO numbers reported in Michigan DEQ 2013 CAFO Permits and State of Ohio Livestock Environmental Permitting database. Please notify ECCSCM if you find omissions or errors, we'll be updating the spreadsheet periodically. Download 9-4-14 update here.
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 permits. In 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.
Sunday Aug 31 - The Toledo Blade carried two front page articles on CAFO contribution to the toxic algae crisis: [our highlights]
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."
New 2014 Western Lake Erie CAFO Annual Manure Inputs - ECCSCM spreadsheet with total CAFO animals by facility, total CAFO manure by facility, in River Raisin and Maumee River Watersheds, Michigan and Ohio. Based on individual CAFO numbers reported in Michigan DEQ 2013 CAFO Permits and State of Ohio Livestock Environmental Permitting database. Please notify ECCSCM if you find omissions or errors, we'll be updating the spreadsheet periodically. Updated Sept. 4, 2014. Download here.
Local CAFO info below, drawn from ECCSCM Western Lake Erie CAFO Manure database:
from Stench Alerts: Aug 7-11 - "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
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.
#2 - through surface runoff into catch-basins that drain to streams
#3 - manure runoff from frozen or snow-covered fields
July 28 - Note concerns today – 1) Dust Bowl, 2) spray-irrigation into neighbor's woods. 1) Major particulate emissions today, blowing from Medina Dairy field applicaton of slurry/solids on Gallup Rd field. No incorporation, no crop. Dust from manure application fields can carry fecal matter as well as large and small particulates which can aggravate asthma, reach the lungs and cause respiratory problems, other health symptoms.
NEW VIOLATION: DEQ recently cited New Flevo Dairy (NFD), Forrister Rd, Adrian, for stockpiling CAFO waste without incorporation for 7 days, a violation of the CAFO Permit. Following a complaint about the stockpiling, DEQ inspected NFD on June 27, 2014, and found stockpiles in the field; NFD application records confirmed "stockpiles on the field had been present since June 19." The CAFO Permit requires incorporation of stockpiled waste within 24 hours. See photos of NFD stockpiles from June, 2014, on Stench Alerts.
July 24 - The toxin microcystin showed up yesterday in Oregon, Ohio's raw water supply which comes from western Lake Erie. The Toledo Blade reports that the water test, performed while OhioEPA Director Craig Butler was touring the plant, "had a small but detectable level of microcystin, the toxin produced by microcystis algae." The article notes, "Plant operators are not required to test for microcystin, even though scientists now place it between arsenic and dioxin in terms of its toxicity. Microcystin is capable of killing humans or at least making them sick in large doses."
CAFO waste application in Maumee Watershed - borders of states don't matter as much as watershed boundaries when it comes to Lake Erie. Michigan CAFO waste is being applied in Williams Co, Ohio; Ohio CAFO waste is being applied in Lenawee Co, Michigan these days. But here or there, these fields are all in the western Lake Erie Watershed, where excess nutrients are feeding toxic algae.
BULLETIN: July 22 - NOAA's Harmful Algae Bloom Bulletin for July 22 finds, for the first time this summer, a cyanobacteria bloom that has intensified this last week near the Maumee River. The University of Toledo has confirmed the presence of the toxic algae Mycrosystis. "Bloom patches may have developed near the Michigan coast, close to Maumee Bay..."
July 15 - Read "Bracing for Lake Erie Algae threats to drinking water," a Great Lakes Echo interview with Rick Stumpf, NOAA scientist who developed the Harmful Algal Bloom forecast for Lake Erie. The HAB forecast uses "a combination of satellite imagery, computer modeling, and water samples gathered by multiple agencies" to update the toxic algae risks to drinking water and recreation. Stumpf discusses last year's HAB following July rains that washed heavy loads of Phosphorus "from farmland along the Maumee River" into Lake Erie at Toledo. Toxins from the algae spiked to unsafe levels, causing the shutdown of one Ohio drinking water supply.
July 11 - Multiple manure applications from CAFOs: New Flevo Dairy bulldozing, pushing manure stockpiles in field at the facility on Forrister Rd. Milk Source's Hudson Dairy dragline operation shut down on M-34 at Elm Rd, just west of the City of Hudson. Today, just east of the City of Hudson, set-up for next dragline session begins, on Munson Hwy off M-34, near the start of Findlay Trail. Hudson Dairy also spray-irrigating along US-127 east of the facility, north of Donnelly Rd. Milk Source's Medina Dairy also spray-irrigating west of Ingall Hwy north of the facility.
July 7 - More manure spray-irrigation, this time at Milk Source's Medina Dairy. Numerous other CAFO manure applications - including Bakerlads, and Hudson Dairy draglining (see Stench Alerts).
REASONS TO BE CONCERNED with MANURE IRRIGATION (from Univ. of Wisconsin Extension)
FIND THE CAFOS IN YOUR AREA – Click on this Food & Water Watch map
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.