Manure not ‘deliberate dumping’
Written by BILL RYAN Sentinel Farm Editor
Tuesday, 22 October 2013 10:05
WAYNE - The manure which found its way into a ditch last week was apparently from an intended application to fields owned by the Meyer Family Farms LLC.
|File photo. ODNR officials checking ditch filled with manure. (Photo: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)
The contaminated ditch is located on the west side of Reynolds Road, just to the south of Greensburg Pike in Portage Township.
While there are no official test reports, officials indicate they believe any contamination was minimal.
Jim Carter, administrator at the Wood Soil and Water Conservation District office, said the incident was discovered after they found discoloration of the ditch water and traced it back to tiles from the Meyer farm fields.
"They were doing things right - it was an unfortunate event," Carter said. "There was no deliberate dumping."
He said the land owners had blocked off the tiles in their fields as a precaution trying to prevent what did occur. The farm was fertilizing the fields with liquid manure.
"There was a leak in one tile and some tiles were missed," Carter said.
"They thought they (all tiles) were all closed," Mark Seger, of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, added.
Both Carter and Seger said there were some old tiles in the field of which the Meyers were not aware.
"We told them to put in some dikes to block the ditch," Carter said, which the farm did. "They blocked the tiles and pumped the ditch and land applied the manure to different fields."
Seger said two separate dikes were installed to block the flow of the leaking manure and the manure in the ditch was pumped out on Friday and Saturday.
"We're buttoning things up," Seger said on Monday. "They have stopped the source and cleaned up the section of ditch as best they could."
Seger said the landowners consulted with both the soil and water district and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and on Saturday removed the earthen dikes which had been temporarily installed.
"There was no surface flow that made it into the channel and all the proper setbacks were followed," Carter said. "They were using best management practice in applications of manure."
Dina Pierce, spokesperson for the Ohio EPA, said her office was notified on Friday afternoon and Dave Schilt from their emergency response team visited the area Friday and followed up over the weekend.
Pierce said Schilt learned manure had been applied to the fields on Wednesday. Manure from that application had made it into the ditch and had reached an unnamed tributary of the Portage River. He also said some of the contamination did make its way to the river.
"There does not appear to be any significant environmental impact. There was no fish kill," Pierce said.
She added because of the Meyer Farm's attention to the matter and the rainfall, any manure which made its way to the tributary and river was diluted.
"It does not mean it is a good thing, but there was no wildlife impact and they did get it cleaned up," Pierce said.
She noted on Schilt's Sunday visit he observed the flow where the ditch empties into the tributary. He told her, "It was looking good right there."
Pierce said of the manure which made its way into the Portage River, "With the volume of water in the river and the rain, it got diluted."
Seger said there were no samples available to verify how much manure did reach the river.