October 5, 2018
Bakerlads Farm, Clayton, MI. South Branch, Raisin watershed. This farm installed a “constructed wetland” over 10 years ago, designed to filter CAFO waste from the facility through wetlands plants in a 2-chambered pond. This naturally-filtered water was then piped from the pond directly through connected subsurface drain/irrigation tiles into the South Branch of the Raisin. A gate valve system (drainwater management structure) controls the flow of water from the subsurface tiles.
Here’s the Google Earth satellite photo from June, 2013, showing the two chambers, the surrounding wetlands plants, and the vegetation in the center between the two chambers. The stream just to the right of the “wetlands”, running from the bottom to the top of the photo, is a tributary of the South Branch, Raisin.
And here’s the same “constructed wetland”, aerial photo taken on July 14, 2018 by ECCSCM/Lighthawk.
Questions, questions, questions. Is the south end of the “constructed wetland” (A above) overgrown with phragmites? Where are the “wetlands” plants? Has the center of the “wetlands” pond (B above) washed out? Is the system still working, or is this now just another waste lagoon, except connected directly to subsurface tiles? What becomes of the broken “wetlands”?
Because … liquid manure was applied to this Bakerlads field, east side of Morey Hwy. between Beecher and Cadmus Rds. This field surrounds the “constructed wetlands” pictured above, shown in the photo below between the corn stubble and the car in the picture. The tree line at the top of the picture is the South Branch of the Raisin. Will the ponded liquid manure be incorporated within 24 hours, before it rains? Will it run off the surface? Will it run into the “constructed wetland”? What crop is being fertilized?
Gate valve that controls the subsurface flow of water from the “constructed wetland” pictured below. Liquid manure application very close to it. What about setbacks? What do the NPDES CAFO permit and the nutrient management plan say?