Stench Alerts 2019

Stench Alerts 2019

It’s Back … or Did It Ever Leave?

July 18, 2019

July 18, 2019
Canandaigua Rd., Medina Twp., (Bean/Tiffin/Maumee).  Lights, generator back in wetlands origin of Covell Drain (to Bean Creek).  See aerial photos taken 5.31.2019 for a birds' eye view of this.  We thought this was supposed to be removed.  Was it?  Or was it removed, and returned?  State of Michigan was at the site yesterday, doing another investigation.  There's more to this ongoing story, and ECCSCM will report when it is finished. application in wetlands 
One thing that never leaves is manure.  It's always here, always being applied.  ECCSCM counted 4 fresh application sites yesterday during a very short trip.  Here's one of them, a New Flevo slurry/solids manure application on the east side of Sword Highway between Plank and Beecher Rds.   Dump truck (in the cloud of manure dust) is dumping its contents on the field; tractor is following behind to plow, or incorporate it, under the soil.  Doesn't matter, it can still get into the surface waters.  This field is in the South Branch/Raisin watershed.  The Raisin enters Lake Erie at Monroe, where the toxins from this year's harmful algae bloom have already been found.  Gut-wrenching stench of hydrogen sulfide and ammonia for miles around, just as it is around all these fields and farm sites with their raw sewage pits during hot Michigan summers.
New Flevo East side of Sword between Plank and Beecher 7.19.2019 slurry solids stockpile

Get ready Lake Erie – it never stops!

July 10, 2019

July 10, 2019

Just in time for the Big Event, the Lake Erie Harmful Algae Bloom forecast.  ECCSCM is here to tell everyone that the Michigan portion of the WLEB is doing its best to keep the manure rolling along, just like every other year.  Not as many fields planted?  Too bad.  Manure farmers produce crap 24/7 so their first concern is getting rid of it.  It’s going on those fields come hell or high water (literally), doesn’t matter if there’s a crop or not.  They got off to a late start because it was so wet, but they’re making up for it now!  Manure everywhere, much of it going onto weed fields.  What do experts recommend as the proper “agronomic rate” for phosphorus fertilizer to grow the biggest and best weeds?  ‘Cause we’re there.

Here's just a tiny smattering of what's happening up here in those Western Lake Erie tributary headwaters.  So much manure, so much stinky air, so little time to take pictures.

East side of Wolf Creek Highway, just north of Brazee Road, field owned by Warner.  Wolf Creek/Lake Adrian/South Branch/Raisin watershed (E. coli TMDL). The beginning of a dry manure stockpile.  Most likely, this will be pushed around and smoothed out, then chisel plowed; supposed to be done within 24 hours.  So much for right time, right rate, right place, right method, precision application.  Manure dust blowing everywhere.


Hartland/Briskey liquid dragline dumpbox setup for surface application of manure, with tankers coming and going.  Southeast corner of Wheeler Hwy. and Cadmus Rd.  South Branch/Raisin watershed (E. coli TMDL).  This was bottom-of-the lagoon quality stench, easily a 10 on the Stench-o-Meter.  The vile odor will get worse as it ages over the next few days, whether it's incorporated into the ground or not.

Photo below is of the liquid manure application on Wheeler Highway and Cadmus Road, showing manure runoff puddling at the edge of the field.  South Branch/Raisin watershed (E. coli TMDL) 

Quiz question:  Where will this excess end up?  Hint:  Initials are L E, and it's a big body of water.


In a few days, this will all be downstream and doing its very best to make this the Best. Lake. Erie. HAB. Evah!!!!


Endless Summer = Endless Sh*t

June 27, 2019

We're deep in the heart of hot, humid, Stench Season, here in CAFO Country.  So much rain, so much untreated livestock sewage.
Overheard in grocery store, Onsted, Michigan ("Gateway to the Irish Hills"):  "What stinks?  Is that cowsh*t?  Don't they ever stop?"  Response:  "I know, right?  I can smell it in my house."
The wind was coming from the south.  About 4 miles south, upwind, NFD (New Flevo Dairy) and Briskey tankers, with a dump box, were hauling liquid manure to this weed field on Onsted Highway, just north of U.S. 223.  One tanker after another.  Two are lined up here, with another on the way in.  Field owned by Waterland Farms (same owners as New Flevo Dairy) and included in New Flevo's CNMP.  (Wallace/Penrod Drains/Hazen Cr./South Branch, Raisin)
New Flavor Dairy Briskey liquid manure tanker dump box Onsted Hwy. North of US 223, June 27, 2019
Economics multiple choice quiz question.  Take a guess.
This field:
A.  didn't get the grain crop planted by June 5 or 15 deadlines, will be submitted for crop insurance
B.  will be planted to a grain crop under the prevent plant crop insurance option
C.  whatever is growing, or will be soon planted, in this field will be chopped and fed to cattle
D.  untreated livestock sewage will be dumped on this field whether there's a cash crop to fertilize or not
E.  A, C & D above
F.   B, C & D above
The only answer we're sure of is "D".

What the Birdie Sees

May 31, 2019

ECCSCM has been concerned about the recent heavy rains and some things we’ve been seeing from the road, so we sent Lighthawk up into the air to get some aerial photos.

Canandaigua Rd., Medina Township (Bean/Tiffin/Maumee).  What is this?  Parked in a 12-acre wetland, intermittent natural stream to Covell Drain, eventually to Bean Creek 

draglines, the pump, the generator, the lighting setup, and the rigid tile pipe outlet into the stream

Even more mysterious - what's with all these draglines, the pump, the generator, the lighting setup, and the rigid tile pipe outlet into the stream?
Medina Canandaigua 1 annotated zoom snip 5.31.2019
Birdie flies north, to Hoffland Dairy, Haley Rd., Hudson Township.  (Bear Creek/Raisin)
Tractor, lagoon, pump, dragline going to where, exactly?
Hoffland north of facility
 Hoffland north of facility
Ooops!  Is that Bakerlads' constructed wetlands, built to filter out contaminants, with the filtering chamber of wetlands plants completely submerged?  Or is it just another pond being used to store CAFO waste?
Here's what it used to look like back in 2013, with the filtering wetlands chamber intact.  That's a tributary to the South Branch of the Raisin right next to it, on the left.
Bakerlads' Constructed Wetlands in 2013, with the filtering wetlands chamber intact
Here's what it looked like on Friday, May 31, 2019, from the opposite angle with the South Branch on the right.
Bakerlads constructed wetlands 5.31.2019
The intrepid Birdie flies on.
To Terrehaven.  Runoff everywhere, from the back barns to the east side of the front barns to the west side of the front barns.  Silage (cattle feed, with the white tarps and tires) on both sides of the manure pile.  Too much to describe.  Birdie got a little sick at this one, but kept on flying.
Terrehaven back barns manure over barrier
Terrehaven front barns manure over stockpile barrier
West side of front barns, barriers missing, runoff flowing into small wetland pond on property
Terrehaven front west barrier removed
Weakened but still strong at heart, Birdie flies on.
Van Brunt manure compost (or should we call it "Con-post"?) pile on Forrister Rd., Rome Township, which recently received a violation notice from the State of Michigan for runoff ponding around this tile riser, discharge into Hazen Creek (South Branch, Raisin).  Zoom in to see that runoff to the tile riser is coming from the back where the fresh manure is added, not where the "berm" was constructed to prevent it.
Van Brunt
Birdie has two really good questions.  Given that a violation notice with remediation conditions was issued on April 25, 2019, and nothing has been done to improve anything at the site since then, why is fresh manure still allowed to be added?  Second, why are the two NPDES-permitted CAFOs involved still allowed to manifest manure to this recipient?
Birdie decides to see how things are at our large CAFO-but-doesn't-have-a-permit, Warner Farms, Franklin Township.  Rexford, Coleman, and Kerr Drains. (Fisk Creek/Black Creek/South Branch, Raisin)
Same old story, different day.  ECCSCM has been reporting this to both US EPA and EGLE for years, EPA is leaving everything up to EGLE.
Runoff from silage piles.
Warner silage runoff onto road across field
What the heck is this thing?  Zoom to see structure across the road from the silage runoff, midway down the photo on the right (east) side of the road, pipe coming out of the ground and open end over catch basin.
Warner runoff south from silage piles, ponding around structure
Birdie's depressed.  Here's New Flevo, Forrister Rd., Rome Township.  (Hazen Creek/South Branch Raisin)
Runoff from new addition to barn, for more animals.  Looks like the dirt piles aren't working.
New Flavo Dairy runoff from new barn
What's happening here?  Is this a dragline setup from one of the lagoons? A mystery!
New Flavo Dairy pumped from lagoon ponding around tile riser annotated
What's this?  The open end of a dragline hose that just happens to be where the ponding starts?
New Flavo Dairy pumped from lagoon ponding around tile riser annotated 2
Where, exactly, is all that ponding going?  Birdie flies around to see from the opposite direction.  Is that orange thing at the other end of the ponding a tile riser (to Hazen Creek and then to the South Branch of the Raisin)?  Why yes, yes it is!
New Flavo Dairy lagoon runoff pumped to tile riser
This is just a tiny bit of what's happening all over the region.
There's a whole lot more that we could post, but Birdie needs to take some time to recover from PTSD.  We've reported all of the potential incidents found to the proper authorities and it's up to them to investigate.
In all seriousness - it is a disaster here.  The stench is hellish for miles around these farms.  Not just here, but everywhere that's been hit by recent heavy rainfall where CAFOs are located.
Please keep Birdie, and all the other people who are stuck here in CAFO-land, in your thoughts.

Seriously? Seriously?!!!!

May 31, 2019

Hoses, hoses, everywhere.  But this one is a Big Freakin’ Deal.  Dragline coming from setup in field on south side of Acker Hwy., applicator has laid it in a tributary to Bean Creek in order to cross under the road to the north side of Acker Hwy.  Just south of Medina Rd.  Couldn’t see where the hose ends or what it’s attached to because of the slope.  Nope. No. No. Nonononononono.  Not allowed to have draglines lying in streams – this is a major cause of leaks and discharges.


Dragline at the right side in the photo above continues to run north (right) where it turns and was laid so that it lies in a tributary of Bean Creek.  Photo below shows the dragline in the stream, above the grass at the roadside and to the right of the big tree in the center.


Manure dragline hose in tributary to Bean Creek, coming from under Acker Hwy.  Dragline (gray hose) is lying in the creek; you can see it above the grass at the roadside edge, lying to the right of the big tree in the center of the photo.  Don't know where this end of the dragline is located or what, if anything, it's attached to.

How much hosing is too much?
Another dragline set up and ready to go, SE corner of Packard Rd. and Dillon Hwy., field in Medina Dairy’s permit.


That’s a lotta livestock sewage.   All headed to Lake Erie!





A Hosing That Never Ends

May 30, 2019

It’s way too wet to be in the fields, but manure farmers are all set up and ready to pump untreated livestock sewage on farm fields just as soon as the rain stops. ½” of rain reported in the area today.

Dragline coming out of the north side of under-road culvert, Forrister Rd. Where’s it coming from?


Here’s the south side of the road, where the dragline enters the culvert:


"Getting closer, going east … generator for pump setup, south side of Forrister Rd."


The source – New Flevo’s lagoons.  Dragline hose from lagoon ( lower right, just above the date in the photo below) runs to the pump above, then under the road, to the field.


There’s a whole lot more.
New Flevo/Waterland dump box still set up on Springville Hwy., just south of Shepherd Rd.   Oh May 24, this farm was applying manure within 24 hours of a 70% chance of ½” or more rainfall, against Michigan CAFO permit rules.  (Confirmed by EGLE.)  That’s a no-no.


Still not done.  North side of Canandaigua Rd. east of Ingall Hwy.  Orange manure dragline, not sure where the other end is.  Field is in Medina Dairy’s permit.





This Sh*t Stinks!

May 19, 2019

Foul air everywhere, especially bad around New Flevo, Hartland, Medina, and Hudson Dairies.  Tankers and wagons everywhere.  So much sh*t, so little time!  ECCSCM was out collecting water samples for analysis.  Results will be published as soon as we have the lab reports back.  Easily a 10+ on the Stench-O-Meter was this liquid dragline application by Briskey south of Medina Rd. on Acker Hwy. (Bean/Tiffin watershed).  Liquid manure is pumped out of the sewage lagoon into the tanker, which is hauled to the field.  Then the liquid livestock waste is pumped into a dump box, shown below with corrugated sides.  From there, it's pumped into a dragline (looks like a fire hose, see the reels below and the full hose coming from the pump) that's connected to an applicator attached to the back back of the tractor , which you see in the picture just below this one.  Eye-watering, throat-burning, gut-wrenching, nasty.  The air stunk for miles around.

A few feet farther east, on the north side of Medina Rd., Briskey was spreading manure solids.  (Bean/Tiffin watershed)

From now until after Memorial Day weekend, our local CAFOs are emptying their giant cesspits of winter's livestock accumulation.  The most beautiful time of year in this part of CAFO-land in Southern Michigan is always Hell Time.   

This is just one example.


Manure’s Annual Easter Gift to Devils Lake, Lenawee County, Michigan

April 11, 2019

April 11, 2019

Just like clockwork, every year. Same field, just across the road from the south side of Devils Lake. Devils Lake is the headwaters of Bean Creek, which becomes the Tiffin and eventually the Maumee River in Ohio. Manure tankers were out in force, new ones pulling up every few seconds to refill the dump box, then leaving to get another load and returning. Just like an assembly line. That’s why they call it factory farming, right?

Brown stuff on the field, but it didn’t smell like chocolate Easter bunnies. Nope, the familiar ammonia/hydrogen sulfide, eye-watering, throat-hurting stench of cattle manure was beginning to bloom.

04.11.2019 Devils Lake, Manure application in rain

Keep driving … follow the smell

04.11.2019 Dump Box setup, Devils Lake Manure application

The dump box setup.  Liquid manure is hauled by tanker and emptied into the red box, where it is pumped out through the long dragline hose that’s attached to the manure application equipment at the back of the tractor.  The dump box is ground zero for this operation.  In order for all of this to take place, manure has to have a solids content of less than 6 to 8%.  When you add enough water to manure so that it can pass through these pumps and equipment, you can no longer control where it ends up.  Especially when it’s applied over our vast network of unidentified subsurface drain tiles.

Keep driving …

04.11.2019 Dragline hose - Manure application Devils Lake

Here it is.  Dragline hose in the foreground, attached to the applicator at the back of the tractor.
Raining today, heavy rains predicted in a couple days.

Sad for the neighbors, sad for the growing weed problems in Devils Lake, sad for everyone downstream in the Bean/Tiffin/Maumee watershed, sad for the Great Lakes.



Springtime in the Headwaters

April 10, 2019

April 10, 2019
Means getting slathered with manure.  Of course, that happens in the summer, fall, and sometimes in the winter, too.  Sending it all downstream, in this case to the City of Adrian, and on to Lake Erie.  Cheers!

04.10.2019; Warner, liquid manure tanker application, Teachout Rd. and Pentecost Hwy., Wolf Creek:S. Branch, Raisin.

Warner, liquid manure tanker application, Teachout Rd. and Pentecost Hwy., Wolf Creek/S. Branch, Raisin.


Hop into the ECCSCM Wayback Machine, or “The Runoff That Never Ends”

March 30, 2019

March 30, 2019
Travel way back with ECCSCM, to our Stench Alert post for May 19, 2018 of the Van Brunt/Halliwill/New Flevo manure heap on Forrister Rd.  (Hazen Creek, S. Branch/Raisin).  No containment, manure heaped up in big piles, every time it rains liquid manure runoff flows everywhere.  We just posted that one photo but this has been on-going for a few years with no resolution. 

Photo below shows manure runoff from those piles (left of photo) ponding around a groundwater wellhead (the white pipe surrounded by corrugated pipe).  Polluting the aquifer is a big no-no.  Or it should be.  That’s why there are setback rules in the CAFO permit that prohibit manure application within 100 ft.  Ain’t happening here.

03.30.2019 manure runoff ponding around a groundwater wellhead - Forrister Rd. (Hazen Creek, S. Branch:Raisin)



Update:  The gift that keeps on giving

March 30, 2019

March 30, 2019

On January 17, 2019, Bakerlads deposited stockpiles of manure on ground that was frozen to a depth of at least 2”, when there was a high risk of runoff according to Michigan’s Enviro Impact Tool.  Manure was eventually pushed around on this field and left to sit (the darker areas of the field above the ponding), not incorporated because (a) the ground was frozen and (b) this is a no-till field. (See January 17th Stench Alert for photo). 

Here’s what happened.  What always happens.  Snow melt and manure, after heavy rains, ponding around the orange, perforated tile riser (orange pipe in the foreground) that collects surface water on the field, takes it down to the buried tile beneath that carries it out to a tributary of the South Branch of the Raisin.  This, folks, is why we don’t put manure (or any fertilizer) on snow-covered or frozen ground.  It’s not fertilizing any crop.  Why is it OK to use farmland as a sewage dump?

03.30.2019 Bakerlads manure stockpiles after winter


How to start the New Year off all wrong!

January 17, 2019

January 17, 2019 – Here’s what’s happening in Michigan’s Winter Wonderland.  Fluffy snow, lakes and ponds freezing over.  Used to be time for winter outdoor fun.  Not so much any more here, unless you like being slathered in livestock sewage.Bakerlad_20190117A

Putrid stench for miles around.  Bakerlads stockpiling manure on frozen, snow-covered ground. Besides what’s in the photo, there were 4 semi’s lined up to enter the field to dump solids at around 5 p.m. on January 17.  South side of Beecher Rd. between Hughes and Morey Hwys., Hudson Twp.  South Branch, Raisin River.  Major snow followed this crap-blizzard.

MSU’s Enviro Impact Tool says this about conditions here:

High risk of runoff from Jan. 18 through Jan. 24 on this chart

20190117CSoil temp at 2” depth <32


20190117BLooks like somebody needs some help finding the tool, or else this is flat-out sewage dumping.  Either way, it’s horrible for the environment.