2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2006-2005 2004 - the beginnng

See full list of CAFO Violations - 4,699 confirmed by the Michigan DEQ

NEW! 2015 Western Lake Erie Basin - CAFO Manure Input
Total CAFO Animals (all species) in Western Lake Erie Watersheds = 10,748,117
Total CAFO Annual Manure (liquids and solids) in Western Lake Erie Watersheds = 5,111,797,576 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* from 15 CAFOs in Michigan's Lake Erie watersheds
(Bean Cr, River Raisin, St. Joseph of the Maumee)
187,943,633 gals. of liquid waste plus
180,258,000 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

* Source for 2015 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, Precision Pork, Triple T Farms.


See the bare-bottomed, bald-faced facts – CAFO waste vs. Human waste – in the hilarious Newsweek cartoon accompanying today's article, Two Numbers: Animal Manure a Growing Headache in America. The article points out that CAFOs produce "335 million tons of manure annually in the U.S.," whereas American humans produce only 7 million tons. However, "unlike human waste, animal manure isn’t processed at all... and that’s causing human health problems."

Stink-in on the Capitol Steps! (of Wisconsin) - Something stinks in Wisconsin, and it's CAFOs. Fighting against water contamination, loss of drinking water, and stench. Hear some voices in the national push to save our water, our air.

Dec 7 - The infamous "milk tile" - this field tile drains into a ditch along US-127 which drains to Fisher Lake (Bean/Tiffin Watershed). This tile has a history. In 2002, the tile flowed white. DEQ cited the dairy CAFO uplslope on US-127, then Vreba-Hoff 2 (now Milk Source's Hudson Dairy CAFO), for an illegal discharge of milk house flush water (see Violations list, November 2002). Recently, when other tiles were not flowing, or flowing clear water, this tile often looked foul, especially this year: in April, with algae hanging at the lip; in November, with foam; and in December, just yesterday, more weird, lumpish foam.
milk tile 1 tile April 2015 tile Nov 2015 tile Dec 2015
November, 2002 - milk tile ........ April 22, 2015 - algae, bubbles .... Nov 11, 2015 - bubbly foam ...... Dec 6, 2015 - more foam, lumpy...

NEW CAFO MAP - Follow the Manure! – this new map IDs all CAFOs in the Western Lake Erie Watershed – with animal & manure numbers, violations & subsidies. Produced by the Less=More Coalition, see their website for more maps, additional data, the documentary video, "Crisis: Factory Farms and Lake Erie Algae," and the complete Less=More report: Follow the Manure: Factory Farms and the Lake Erie Algae Crisis. The report includes details on Lenawee and Hillsdale CAFOs in particular: "Lenawee County, Mich., is remarkable within the WLEW [Western Lake Erie Watershed] both for the amount of manure that it produces and for the excessive number of permit violations."

NEW VIOLATIONS: 2 CAFOs - Milk Source's Medina Dairy and Hartland Farms – cited by DEQ for violation of their CAFO Permits.
(See Violations List for links to DEQ letters)
Medina Dairy
- in an inspection etter sent Nov 13, 2015, DEQ cited Medina Dairy for applying CAFO waste to a field that was not public noticed prior to CAFO waste application. "This is a violation of the facility's permit," which requires that new fields be assessed for appropriate CAFO waste application before any waste is applied.
Hartland Farms
– in a Violation Notice sent Nov 6, 2015, DEQ cited Hartland Farms for applying manure to "multiple fields" without incorporation within 24 hrs, a violation of its CAFO Permit.

Nov 18 - In the rain - wind and rain are rolling through today, but tankers from Milk Source's Medina Dairy CAFO are hauling liquid manure to a draglining operation on Maple Grove Ave, at the north edge of the City of Hudson. (more photos on Stench Alerts)
11-18-15 - Medina Dairy CAFO dumpbox and tankers at draglining operation on Maple Grove Ave, Hudson.

Nov 13 - New Flevo Dairy is spreading CAFO solids in the rain along Burton Rd, a practice prohibited by the CAFO Permit.
11-13-15 - New Flevo Dairy is spreading solids in the rain, Burton Rd west of US-223.

Nov. 12 - CAFO Permits prohibit waste application in the rain - Milk Source's Hudson Dairy is draglining in the rain, tankers running into the evening, east of Kelso Rd, the dragline running from the dumpbox on M-34, west of the City of Hudson. See also Stench Alerts.
11-12-15 - Hudson Dairy manure tankers hauling to the dumpbox along M-34, 6:34 p.m., in the rain.

11-12-15 - Hudson Dairy draglining in the rain, near Kelso Rd, through dragline hose from dumpbox on M-34.

Nov 10 - 2015 Lake Erie algae bloom "the worst this century" - Analysis of the 2015 season by NOAA and the Great Lakes Research Lab found it worse in total biomass than 2011, the previous worst. "Fortunately," they note, "the bloom moved to the central basin rather than along the shore." Will we luck out every year, if worst follows worst? Manure and nutrients in CAFO waste applied now (see today's Stench Alerts) - on bare fields, no growing crop - can easily run off fields or drain through tiles, a huge risk for next year's toxic algae season.
11-9-15 - Medina Dairy CAFO application, damp rutted field, NO CROP NOW, NO CROP TO COME for months.

Outrageous stench widespread around the City of Adrian and various field locations. The Adrian Daily Telegram asked on Facebook yesterday, "We're looking for some help with a story. We've received some reports of a strong, manure/sewage odor around the north side of Adrian and northwest and west of town, especially in the morning for the past few days."
The Telegram got 400+ replies, including:
"... on Valley Rd just east of Bent Oak. They put it on the fields all around us. It's disgusting it should be banned."
"I thought it smelled like someone dropped a bomb of aspagras pee on adrian. it was gag worthy just being outside."
"We thought it was the dark piles of dirt (manure/waste?) in the farm fields on the north side of Valley Rd."
"...all of us would like to know EXACTLY what this stuff is. it smells so bad. and the smell lingers for a long time. Its a cross smell between something dead and brussel sprouts. omg you can hardly breathe."
See Stench Alerts for more details from Adrian today, Nov 5, including photos to ECCSCM.

"WORST MANURE SMELL EVER. LIKE ROTTED BODY PARTS" - Horrendous stench at the Hudson Dairy dump box on Waldron Rd, across from a school, and very close to neighbors and their well in the front yard. Reports say the stench is "brutal, disgusting," "like rotted body parts." Draglining began this morning on the large field at Waldron Rd and M-34. Neighbors are suffering. And fed up.
11-2-15 - Three tankers, one waiting in the road, are hauling Hudson Dairy CAFO waste to a dumpbox at intersection of Waldron Rd and M-34.

11-2-15 - Tanker dumping into dumpbox, some liquid spilled on the ground ("worst manure smell ever," "disgusting").

laongM34 HDblackfieldM34
11-2-15 - Hudson Dairy draglining field black at Waldron and M-34, low area and upslope.

November 1 - a short lull in manure application, following rain last night. But with a dry week ahead - watch out! and let us know if you see haulers on the road.
NOTE: Dragline hose ACROSS Seeley Drain, inlet to Posey Lake - Medina Dairy CAFO was draglining fields last week along Plank Rd, next to houses on Posey Lake. Today the dragline hose is stretched OVER Seeley Drain, a major inlet to Posey Lake (see photos below). This is one of the highest risk practices. In 2012, Milk Source's predecessor Southern Michigan Dairies also ran a dragline across a stream, until ECCSCM raised the alert and SMD decided that with the risk to waterbodies, there was "no excuse" for this practice. See July 5, 2012 and May 1, 2012 photos and more details.
11-1-15 - Medina Dairy dragline set-up on Plank Rd; no draglining today after rain last night. But ready to go. See Seeley Drain photos below.
draglineSeeley2 draglineSeeleyclose

11-1-15 - Medina Dairy dragline across Seeley Dr, Plank Rd, close up above right.

October means weeks of heavy fall manure application, with NO CROP. And no crop to come for months. Good reason to call this what it is: waste disposal, not fertilizer. Just in the last few days, before ECCSCM's Water Monitoring (Oct 27), and before predicted heavy rainfall - a forecast prohibiting CAFO waste application - tankers and haulers had been applying at multiple locations. See more details.

Bulletin! OFF THE CHARTS - E. coli at Site #36, Shierson Drain: 150,000/100mL - ECCSCM Water Monitoring E. coli results from Oct 27 are just back from the DEQ lab, showing an E. coli count of 150,000/100mL at Shierson Drain on Ridgeville Rd, Morenci. Legend CAFO fields and one State Line CAFO field lie immediately upstream. Ammonia levels at Shierson Dr were 6 ppm (see photo below), the highest we've seen on Hach test strips at any site. Ever.
-Michigan's water standard for E. coli is 1,000/100mL, for partial body contact.
-Ammonia in streams should range between 0.01-0.10ppm, and results above 0.10 ppm are "of concern."
Shierson Drain is a tributary of Silver Creek which flows into Bean Creek below Morenci, and on to the Maumee River and Lake Erie.

Two other sites also tested at extremely high levels of E.coli:
91,000/100mL at Deline Cr Extension on Tomer Rd, a site draining Hoffland CAFO fields
5,500/100mL at Lime Cr tributary on Ingall Hwy near Packard Rd, a site draining Medina CAFO fields
Lime Cr tributary on Ingall Hwy, with E. coli count at 5,500/100ml, also had extremely low DO of .23 mg/L. Michigan water standard for Dissolved Oxygen is 5 mg/L or higher, and 3 mg/L is fish-kill level.

Also on 10-27-15, Rice Lake Dr at Hoffland CAFO, site of fish kill in August - degraded as ever.

medinachopped DOMedina
Also noted on 10-27, South Medina Dr is chopped, trees removed. Milk Source's Medina CAFO is 1 mi upstream, where this tributary of Bean Cr originates.
Dissolved Oxygen level of 1.96 mg/L at this site on 10-27-15.

"Stop stalling on Lake Erie" - Toledo Blade endorses Lake Erie impaired status - In an editorial Oct 27, the Toledo Blade calls for "a formal declaration by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that the western Lake Erie watershed is 'impaired.' Under the federal Clean Water Act, that definition would permit tougher regulation of the sources of pollution — especially runoff of excess manure and fertilizer from farm operations — that promote the growth of harmful algae blooms in the lake."

Oct 24 - Toledo Blade article today concludes that mayoral candidate Mike Ferner's comment that "megafarms produce the waste equivalent of Chicago and Los Angeles combined," could well be true. Blade writer Tom Henry reports that "... Chicago and Los Angeles produce anywhere from 3 million to 17 million pounds of feces a day, depending how large of a geographical area and which formula is used." He also notes: "Environmentally Concerned Citizens of South Central Michigan — the region’s leader for grassroots-level manure research — has created a database of government records showing the River Raisin, St. Joseph, and Maumee River watersheds had 10.7 million animals producing 5.1 billion pounds of manure during 2014, which comes to nearly 14 million pounds a day."

Oct 20 - Rotary Club taking aim at algae blooms in Lake Erie - Andy Stuart, Pres of Toledo Rotary Club says, “Not just our physical health is threatened, but our entire economic health is threatened, and if we don’t do something about it now it could become overwhelming ... Stuart acknowledges that some people may see this as a strange issue for a Rotary Club to tackle, but explains that the 34,000 clubs worldwide have a long history of taking on the world’s most daunting problems."

Oct 19 - The Politics of Algae: Great Lakes Week - Excellent short PBS video (Ch. 56 Detroit) on CAFOs/animal manure and Lake Erie. Shows ECCSCM water monitoring. Lake Erie Waterkeeper Sandy Bihn’s comparison to the previous Lake Erie fix really hits the mark, both on what it will take, and how it’s possible.
snip2 snip
from "The Politics of Algae" – ECCSCM water monitoring, and clip from ECCSCM video of liquid manure application in winter 2014, no crop.

Oct 9 - Dangerous air near Hartland Farms CAFO waste application - high Hydrogen Sulfide emissions. Yesterday, Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S) exposure reached 0.4ppm (parts per million) near Hartland Farms CAFO waste application on Beecher Rd. Hydrogen Sulfide is the "rotten egg" part of the CAFO waste stink. Several states - NY, KY, New Mexico - have an air standard for H2S, a 1-hr limit of 0.01ppm. Michigan has no air standard for H2S. Hydrogen sulfide can cause headaches, breathing problems, and with severe or chronic exposure can cause neurological damage – it's a brain poison. Health Dept and other agencies were notified.
10-8-15 - Drager meter with oxygen reading (20.5%) and Hydrogen Sulfide reading of 0.4ppm.

Oct 7 - Massive manure applications from Milk Source's CAFOs continue. And today, Milk Source's PR person Bill Harke finally admitted in an online article that they're "working through issues" with the new livestock waste system they'd promised would treat manure so completely you could drink it! No sign of drinking water on Milk Source fields here. Instead, they're hauling and trucking and spraying and spreading - stinking untreated CAFO waste. Yesterday tankers were rolling morning to night.
See more photos of Milk Source CAFO applications and other CAFO messes from yesterday here.
medinacafo medinaclose
10-6-15 - Milk Source's Medina Dairy spreading thick wet stinking untreated (not "drinking water") CAFO goo.

The EVIL TWIN of Lake Erie restoration projects
Tree-removal, buffer-removal, scraping, burning at field edges and streams - why?
for an extra acre of corn?

thumb thumb2 thumb3 thumb4

Just when so much Lake Erie funding, our tax money, is going to farmers for buffer-planting,
green cover crops, erosion prevention?

(see larger images and details)

Oct 1 - "Disgusting" - For miles around, another day of black manure fields, polluted air, polluted water, disgusting CAFO waste applications. See more details and photos of 6 CAFOs spraying, aerosolizing, dumping animal sewage on fields.
stockpile ricelkdrain spewing slurry
10-1-15 - New Flevo CAFO's stockpiling; Hoffland CAFO's Rice Lake Drain; Hartland CAFO spewing; Medina Dairy CAFO's black slurry waste field.

Sept 23 - "Unbearable...for several days" - And today, a beautiful first day of fall, CAFOs are fouling the air in at least 5 townships (Adrian, Rollin, Hudson, Dover, Medina). See more photos and details of CAFO waste being sprayed, spread, hauled, and draglined around us today.
Medinairrig Cisco Medinasolidsdust Bleich

Sept 14 - More toxins lead to more toxic chemicals in Monroe Co, MI drinking water - Through most of the summer we've heard news reports of the toxin microcystin in Toledo's water intake in Lake Erie – but not in the drinking water. Now a Toledo Blade article notes that the “heavy reliance on chlorine” in water treatment may be causing health threats: "Customers of the South County Water System, which distributes Toledo tap water to 30,000 Monroe County [MI] residents, were notified by that utility earlier this month that their water earlier this year had an elevated level of cancer-causing trihalomethanes," which is a symptom of heavy reliance on chlorine. In July, the Bowling Green Sentinel-Tribune reported that "Just over $5 million has been spent within the past year at Toledo’s drinking water plant that will allow it to quadruple the amount of chemicals needed to get rid of the toxins in the water as it is pumped from the lake."

Millions dying around the world due to air pollution - CBS News - "Agriculture is the next biggest contributor to premature deaths from air pollution. Ammonia from livestock and fertilizer cause the formation of ammonium nitrate and sulfate particles, which contribute to air pollution. Agriculture is the leading source of premature deaths from air pollution in the eastern United States, Russia, Turkey, Korea and Japan and Europe, according to the study."

Aug 12 – Foul, intolerable day all around – (see more details and more photos)
State Line CAFO is at it AGAIN in Morenci - manure tankers hauling through downtown. Think how many hog pits - how deep the waste - to fill all those tankers for all these days. Think how much untreated waste is going on fields within a mile or so of town.
Dead fish in Rice Lake Drain. Dissolved oxygen levels at several CAFO locations are way below fish-kill levels. (more photos). DEQ, DNR have not investigated, although the EPA details the River and Stream Impacts of animal waste: "Manure, and wastewater containing manure, can severely harm river and stream ecosystems. Manure contains ammonia which is highly toxic to fish at low levels. Increased amounts of nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus...can cause algal blooms which block waterways and deplete oxygen as they decompose. This can kill fish and other aquatic organisms, devastating the entire aquatic food chain."
8-12-15 – one of several dead fish in Rice Lake Drain, just downstream from Hoffland CAFO facility and fields.

NOAA's Harmful Algae Bloom Bulletin for Aug 10 describes a cyanobacteria bloom across a large part of Lake Erie's western basin. A Recreational Public Health Advisory has been posted for Maumee Bay State Park by Ohio EPA, due to high levels of algal toxin detected at the beach. Swimming and wading are not recommended for the very old, the very young or those in ill health. A Contamination Advisory for E. coli continues at Maumee Bay State Park. Children, the elderly and those in ill health or weakened immune systems are advised not to swim.

Quite a weekend - Aug 7-9 - "Celebrate Hudson" Festival, with US-127 Yard Sales and Neighborhood Garage Sales everywhere. Also, just down the road on M-34, Clayton Summerfest, on Saturday Aug 8 with Hartland Farms listed as "Proud Sponsor" (see Hartland Farms "Dairy-air" contribution below).
Weather Forecast - great summer weather!
Manure Forecast - it's in the air, & it stinks!
Here's why...

Aug 6 - Lake Erie Harmful Algae Bloom Bulletin for Aug 6 - The microcystis cyanobacteria bloom has intensified along Michigan's shoreline and the western basin, where "extensive severe scum was present." In the satellite image from Aug 5, all areas in dark red have scum. "Microcystin is present in this bloom, with toxin levels especially high in scums."
Cyanobacterial Index from NASA Modus-Terra data collected Aug 5, 2015

Aug 5 - Foul far and wide - "extreme stench" reported from liquid manure applications in multiple locations, a nightmare this beautiful summer evening. Emissions are carrying for miles in light and variable winds. See details on Hartland Farms CAFO, New Flevo Dairy CAFO, Hoffland Farms CAFO, and Medina Dairy CAFO.
8-5-15 - "Extreme stench" from this Hartland liquid manure application on slope along Cadmus Rd, east of Hughes.
New Flevo Dairy black surface application, up and down hills, on Forrister Rd east of Skinner Hwy.

July 29 - Still hot, in the 90s, & humid, bad air at manure applications: Medina Dairy still draglining along Ridgeville Rd; and Milk Source's Hudson Dairy spreading solids in Ransom Twp, Hillsdale Co, with dust and particulates rising, drifting in the heat. See details.

July 28 - Industrial-strength manure dumping - with fields drying and wheat cut, CAFOs are draglining, spreading and spraying manure. Bad days for neighbors. For more details and photos, see Stench Alerts.
7-28-15 - Milk Source's Medina Dairy dumpbox on Ridgeville - three tankers pumping liquid manure, dragline pump & hose in foreground.

July 27 - Microcystin detected in Toledo water intake crib - The City of Toledo announces: "We’ve changed our water quality dashboard to reflect the current status of Toledo’s water, which is now 'Watch.' Our new water protocols are working as we intended to provide the public with information about the changes in quality of water as well as early warning of harmful algal blooms. Microcystin has been detected in the intake crib 3 miles out in Lake Erie, but not in drinking water." For current data from the crib intake, see Great Lakes Buoys - Toledo crib intake sonde data. (To see data for the week, click on the graph icon to the left of blue-green algae data.)
toledo water
City of Toledo Water Quality Dashboard, July 27, 2015

"Large pastoral farms" instead of CAFOs - YES! - Project Animal Farm author Sonia Faruqi in an interview describes large pastoral farms as "the solution to most of the humane and sustainability problems we are seeing" in industrial farms. She says that systemic reform in animal agriculture is essential, to end the "horrific abuses" of industrial-size operations. She describes how large pastoral farms can thrive with "economies of scale and the low costs that producers and consumers want."

South Medina Drain looks terrible today, July 22 - This stream, listed as "impaired," originates on Milk Source's Medina Dairy CAFO property and drains only Medina Dairy production area and fields. Water monitoring Hach test strip results today showed extremely high Nitrate (10mg/L); Phosphate (30mg/L); and Ammonia (0.25mg/L - of concern, above 0.10mg/L).
southmedina bottle
7-22-15 - South Medina Drain at Ingall Hwy, "impaired" tributary of Bean Cr, Lake Erie Watershed; bottle showing red color in South Medina Dr water.

"It’s the manure, stupid" - article in today' s Toledo Blade (July 17) on the major problem in Lake Erie's current degradation. "The biggest, and most immediate, thing we can do to save the lake is reduce the manure runoff into it," says Sandy Bihn, head of Lake Erie Waterkeeper. "That will ultimately mean more expensive beef and pork, or eating less of each. But both outcomes seem a small price for saving a great lake." The article notes that Gov John Kasich of Ohio (like Gov Rick Snyder of MI?) is a genuine champion of Lake Erie, but he "may have to face down the meat industry, which, it has been said, is as powerful as the cigarette industry in America. Eventually, the farm animal waste will have to be treated, just as human waste is."

Bulletin: Latest (July 9) Harmful Algae Bloom risk for western Lake Erie - "among the most severe in recent years." After heavy rains in June, and phosphorus surging off fields, NOAA and its research partners expect a severity index as high as 9.5 (out of 10, "which corresponds to the 2011 bloom, the worst ever observed"). See also Toledo Blade article today.

Court upholds EPA Chesapeake Bay clean-up plan - Victory for clean water! - In response to a suit filed by Farm Bureau and other ag interests, an Appeals Court ruled July 6 that "EPA’s regulation of nutrient pollution in the Chesapeake Bay under the Clean Water Act was valid, and that the Farm Bureau’s arguments against the plan were 'unpersuasive'." Because of serious nutrient pollution, as in Lake Erie, the 6 Chesapeake Bay states established a Clean Water Blueprint, with Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for how much nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment can enter the bay each year.

"One more capitulation to the powerful agricultural lobby" - Read Gary Wilson's report on the recent "Leadership Summit" in Quebec on protecting Lake Erie (or listen to interview on WKAR). "For all the talk about valuing the Great Lakes and blue economies, this was a shabby performance in Quebec by an absent and disinterested group of governors. The status quo which hasn’t worked trumped bold action to improve drinking water quality."

New report on "America's Industrial Dairy Wasteland" - could be a Michigan CAFO report, but no, this report, from Socially Responsible Agricultural Project (SRAP), focuses on Wisconsin's CAFO pollution and the public health crisis in CAFO communities and watersheds. (See Full report, 140 p., 41MB) The report,"The Rap Sheets: Industrial Dairies of Kewaunee County, Wisconsin," documents years of pollution, complaints and agency response to 16 dairy CAFOs . “We should not mince words about this...What we’re talking about are Third World conditions in America’s heartland,” SRAP’s Scott Dye said. Drawing on agency documents, the report indicts Wisconsin's DNR (like our DEQ, charged with overseeing CAFOs) for regulatory failure, concluding its "hand-off approach...has proven to be an abject failure. The agency’s 'all carrots, and no stick' oversight has left county residents with contaminated groundwater, a polluted countryside and a public health emergency."

Pope Francis in "On Care for Our Common Home," speaks forcefully on the enviroment, on climate change, on pollution including "agrotoxins," and on the moral imperative of protecting nature –"our common home." "Everything is connected," he writes. Our world is both enviromental and social, an "integral ecology." Read the full Encyclical Letter. Excerpts below are pertinent to sustainablility, agriculture, and the economic and political actions of authorities, agencies:
• "Technology, which linked to business interests, is presented as the only way of solving these [environmental] problems, in fact proves incapable of seeing the mysterious network of relations between things and so sometimes solves one problem only to create others...the earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth."
• "There are too many special interests, and economic interests easily end up trumping the common good and manipulating information so that their own plans will not be affected...Consequently the most one can expect is superficial rhetoric, sporadic acts of philanthropy and perfunctory expressions of concern for the environment, whereas any genuine attempt by groups within society to introduce change is viewed as a nuisance based on romantic illusions or an obstacle to be circumvented."
• "Economies of scale, especially in the agricultural sector, end up forcing smallholders to sell their land or to abandon their traditional crops. Their attempts to move to other, more diversified, means of production prove fruitless...because the infrastructure for sales and transport is geared to larger businesses. Civil authorities have the right and duty to adopt clear and firm measures in support of small producers and differentiated production."
• "Environmental impact assessment should not come after the drawing up of a business proposition...It should be part of the process from the beginning...The local population should have a special place at the table; they are concerned about their own future and that of their children, and can consider goals transcending immediate economic interest."

Lake Erie microcystis reported – too soon. The Toledo Blade reports that the early arrival of algae puts scientists on alert, following the first report of microcystis this week in Lake Erie. Blooms usually don't appear until August. The most recent (June 15) Harmful Algal Bloom Projection, from Heidelberg Univ and NOAA, notes that, "Earlier this spring had been relatively dry, resulting in less discharge and lower phosphorus loads into the western basin. Recent thunderstorms increased the loads, therefore increasing the potential bloom severity."

What causes Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) in Lake Erie? See brief but detailed account by scientists with USDA Agricultural Research Service on the role of "larger farms," "manure," "tile drainage," as well as climate change, commodity prices, ethanol production, etc. in Journal of Soil and Water Conservation (April 2015).

Voices throughout the region unite on changes in agricultural practices to protect Lake Erie: The just-released Interim Joint Action Plan for Lake Erie lists a ban on manure and fertilizer on snow-covered and frozen ground as crucial. A June 5 Toledo Blade editorial on the new federal water rule supporting the Clean Water Act details the importance of protecting small tributaries and wetlands that feed drinking water sources (like Lake Erie). As Todd Ambs, the director of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, told the Blade, “It’s not called the Partially Clean Water Act.”

May 29 - Update on CAFO VIOLATIONS, WINTER 2015 - DEQ cited Terrehaven CAFO for "an unpermitted discharge of manure laded water to Black Creek" on March 12, 2015, after manure application on snow-covered ground. That week in March saw thaw across Michigan which led to discharges elsewhere too (scroll back in time, down this page to the entry on VDS CAFO discharge in Kalamazoo Co, March 10). Three other CAFOs here – Bleich Dairy, Bakerlads Farm, New Flevo Dairy – also had violations of their CAFO Permits involving application of manure on frozen or snow-covered ground or maintenance of storage structures. For full details and links to DEQ letters, see the Violations List.
This ECCSCM photo from March 10 shows Black Creek just downstream from the Terrehaven discharge site (more photos from that date on Stench Alerts).

FIND THE CAFOS IN YOUR AREA - New Food & Water Watch map of CAFOs, updated to 2012 (with expansions around here continuing through 2015, not included)
Food & Water Watch points out about Michigan:
•The number of dairy cows on factory farms in Michigan with more than 500-head increased nearly six-fold in fifteen years, rising from 35,000 dairy cows in 1997 to more than 205,000 in 2012.
•In 2012, Michigan had the eighth highest number of dairy cows on factory farms in the nation, with nearly 206,000 dairy cows on factory farms with more than 500-head.
•The dairy cows on factory farms in Michigan in 2012 produce as much waste as 45 million people — more than 4 times the state population.
cafo mpa

Yakima Valley, WA - In a landmark court settlement announced May 11, four Washington State dairy CAFOs must make sweeping changes in their manure operations following a series of lawsuits brought by the Community Association for Restoration of the Environment (CARE) and Center for Food Safety.
Under the Consent Decree, the 4 dairies must install double liners in all manure lagoons to stop leakage, limit manure applications to crop fields, and make other operational changes including groundwater monitoring. In a press release, Andrew Kimbrell, executive director at Center for Food Safety, said: “This is an important precedent holding mega-dairy factories responsible for the environmental and human health impacts of their waste."

EPA releases guidelines for algal toxicity levels in drinking water. Good luck this summer, Toledo (and Monroe, MI, and Saginaw Bay water intakes). EPA recommended limits (not water standards), in parts per billion: for children younger than school age, 0.3 ppb for microcystin; for all others, 1.6 ppb for microcystin. Most states with drinking water standards for microcystin set the limit at 1 ppb, using a World Health Organization standard. Michigan and Ohio do not have a drinking water standard for microcystin.

On outlawing CAFOs - in the news this week - head to the courts:
•Mark Bittman's New York Times column May 6, Let's Make Food Issues Real, points the way to a better food system, including outlawing CAFOs, "which are comparable to coal mines," and eliminating them is a battle that "might be winnable with a strong legal strategy and a series of local fights."
Powerful interview with Barry Eastabrook, author of Pig Tales: An Omnivore's Quest for Sustainable Meat. Eastabrook says, "What convinced me to write this book was a pork chop" from a pig raised on pasture. "It was incredibly juicy, and it was rich. It wasn't the other white meat. It was quite red... just incredibly good meat." The book is about the intelligence of pigs, pasture-raised pigs, Big Pig CAFOs, Global Big Pig. Eastabrook concludes, about the pollution from CAFOs in rural communities: "I definitely see a trend with people realizing that the government agencies are not going to act. They are pretty much allies with big agriculture. And the only way to get results seems to be ... going through the courts."

May 4 - DEQ announces 2015 CAFO General Permit, including one revision that imposes (a few) restrictions on CAFOs that manifest, give or sell, waste to others. Recipients applying CAFO waste in the months of Jan, Feb, and March without incorporation must now abide by the same winter rules that apply to CAFOs. Unfortunately, the 2015 CAFO Permit did not change winter application rules for CAFOs. Michigan has not stepped forward – in spite of recommendations from numerous studies, research, the International Joint Commission and others, that to protect Lake Erie, states and provinces must prohibit all manure application on frozen or snow-covered ground. CAFOs in Michigan can still apply on fields that meet certain slope, vegetated cover, etc. requirements. But – as we've seen for years – manure still runs off those fields in sun/thaw/rain/spring melt and still drains through surface inlets to tiles, which flow to streams. And on to Lake Erie.

April 28 - Why buffer strips aren't enough to protect Lake Erie - the form of phosphorus that spurs the growth of cyanobacteria/toxic algae is called dissolved reactive phosphorus (DRP, PO4) because it dissolves in water. Dissolved phosphorus, in liquid manure for instance, drains down through soils to sub-surface field tiles and pours from the tile pipes directly into streams (see image below, Carter Dr in Lenawee Co). Buffers on the surface don't stop the dissolved phosphorus flowing underground through tiles. Unfortunately, most Lake Erie funding dollars are going to farmers for buffer strips. Buffers are considered a best management practice (BMP) – and they are, for runoff from the surface of the field. That's good. Buffers do catch another form of phosphorus that's attached to soils and runs off the surface with sediment. But this soil-attached phosphorus isn't the major spur for growth of toxic algae. DRP is. To protect Lake Erie, more serious changes in ag practices will be required for CAFOs: in-field basins or wetlands to capture the tile flow; or better, no liquid manure on tiled fields and municipal-grade waste treatment for CAFO waste; or best of all for our watersheds and for our communities, fewer CAFOs, more farms! with pasture-based livestock production.

April 27 - Regional Petition to EPA - today, ECCCM joined 30 Michigan, Ohio and Indiana environmental, farm, grass-roots and other organizations urging EPA to take a regional approach with actions to protect Lake Erie. The groups petitioned EPA to "designate the western Lake Erie basin as impaired and act without delay to address CAFO-related impacts to the watershed." Barbara Sha Cox, spokesperson for Indiana CAFO Watch, said “This is a vital step in protecting the water. Clean water should be the goal of all residents and farmers." See press release and full letter to EPA.

April 25 - Toledo Blade editorial today, "Saving Lake Erie," supports a recent Lucas County report that calls for designating the Maumee River a distressed watershed, to permit regional action. The report also concludes that "solely voluntary efforts will not clean up Lake Erie; legal mandates with enforcement teeth are necessary." Important actions recommended include "better data collection to monitor both the extent of pollution in the broader Lake Erie watershed and the success of measures to reduce it."

April 23 - draglining liquid manure, trucking solids, spraying, spreading from several CAFOs (see Stench Alerts), including Hoffland Farms CAFO, with dragline apparently crossing Rice Lake Drain, a high-risk practice. (See Rice Lake Drain E. coli issues in post from yesterday.)
4-23-15 - Hoffland tractor pumping liquid manure through dragline crossing Rice Lake Drain.

April 22 - We're testing the streams near CAFOs here because CAFOs are not. DEQ is not. ECCSCM's 2015 Volunteer Water Monitoring Project has begun, with periodic sampling at 8 sites near 4 CAFOs. All sites are in western River Raisin or eastern Bean Cr watersheds, and all these waters flow to Lake Erie. Test results from sampling on 4-20-15 show two sites of serious concern: Rice Lake Dr at Haley Rd, and Deline Dr Ext at Tomer Rd - both near Hoffland Dairy CAFO facility and/or manure application fields. Water samples from these 2 sites violated Michigan's water quality standards for E. coli (5,900/100mL at Rice Lake Drain; 2,100/100mL at Deline Dr Ext); and both also tested extremely high in Nitrate, Phosphate (PO4), and Ammonia. In fact, EVERY SITE tested extremely high in Phosphate (PO4), the dissolved phosphorus implicated in the toxic algae blooms in Lake Erie. See total data from 8 sites, 4-20-15. Rice Lake Drain has a long history of E. coli contamination (2002-2015), as well as documentation in 2004 of the pathogen Cryptosporidium at this site by MSU and international Cryptosporidium researcher Dr Joan Rose. In spite of this, and a history of violations at Hoffland CAFO, DEQ has not tested this site - and many others of concern - in the last 10 years.
ricelakedr1 ricelk2
4-20-15 - Rice Lake Drain, with E. coli count of 5,900/100mL, (River Raisin Watershed), downslope from Hoffland Farms CAFO and fields.

April 15 - Lenawee Co Road Commission signs posted on Forrister Rd, marking road damage between New Flevo Dairy and Skinner Hwy.
sign Forrister

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.
4-14-15 - Warner application at Gady Rd; waste not incorporated, streaming on the surface.
4-14-15 - Shepherd Rd west of Wisner. Warner manure tankers are taking Shepherd east to M-52 then south to Gady

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.
nfd1 nfd2

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.
4-1-15 - Concern for manure management: Bleich pumping from south lagoon to north lagoon and into tanker, the hose (follow arrows) crossing the production area.
4-1-15- Close-up of south lagoon - urgent problem? requiring emptying?

4-1-15- Dark flow from silage heap at Warner Farms, same concern as in March 11 photo below on this page.

4-1-15 - Terrehaven production area, same as last year (see aerial photos below, April 2, 2014), and for years - manure overtops production area barrier and flows to a wetland and on to neighbor's property.
4-1-15 - back barns at Terrehaven, with manure over-topping barrier and flowing through a trench. Black Cr, a tributary of Wolf Cr, a drinking water source for the City of Adrian, is feet away.

March 28 - EPA planes are checking CAFOs - See Toledo Blade article on the Great Lakes Symposium in Chicago, with Toledo's "poisonous water" in the spotlight, and Susan Hedman, the EPA’s Midwest regional administrator, announcing her agency "has had inspectors in small planes the last three years looking for manure-management violations by large livestock operations known as concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs."

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.
tiles Iowa

sub-surface tiles

March 11 - massive snow melt continues, with runoff from fields and livestock production areas – Warner Farms, Milk Source's Medina Dairy:
3-11-15 - extensive pooling of runoff at Warner silage heap, with possible slippage on south side, along Elton Hwy (River Raisin Watershed).

3-11-15 - Durfee Cr Extension (on Michigan's list of impaired waters) is foamy, clotted, gray. This stream originates on and drains only Milk Source's Medina Dairy, Dillon Hwy (Bean/Tiffin Watershed).

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, 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."
Here, major thaw has also begun, with temps in the 40s and 50s this week. Runoff from manure application fields is already pooling in fields, many with tile inlets draining to streams. March is the month the "surge" of dissolved phosphorus begins to flow from fields to tiles to streams, to Lake Erie, feeding toxic algae through the summer. See more photos and details here.
3-10-15 - Black Cr on Wolf Creek Hwy, downstream from Terrehaven CAFO manure application field and drainage area of back-of-field barns.

terre eastpool
3-10-15 - Pooled runoff east of Terrehaven CAFO production area, draining into residential area and catch basin to Baker Tile.

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 DEQ deference and postponing in the face of ongoing 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 - 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 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:
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 - 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.