A large manure spill, which resulted in a significant fish kill in Dutchman Creek near Freedom, has been contained and is in the process of being cleaned up, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
The spill happened at Neighborhood Dairy, a large dairy farm located just northeast of Freedom in Outagamie County, the DNR said.
The portion of Dutchman Creek affected, about a mile and half, is almost entirely located within tribal boundaries of the Oneida Nation. The DNR has notified the tribe and will keep them updated, they said.
The spill was apparently caused by a full manure pit and a valve malfunction which allowed manure to back up and run out of the dairy’s runoff collection system, flow through a wide grassy swale and enter Dutchman Creek, said Ben Uvaas, a DNR wastewater and runoff specialist.
From there it flowed to the northeast, crossing under Section Line Road and then Vans Road. A berm constructed north of Vans Road has contained the spill.
DNR groundwater specialists are monitoring the spill, but the thick clay soil in the region may prevent any groundwater contamination.
The volume of the spill is unknown, but it did kill a large number small forage fish in the affected section of the creek, such as bullheads, mud minnows and sticklebacks.
Upon discovering the spill, farm managers had manure pumped from the pit and transferred to another manure storage facility, the DNR said.
The farm began excavating berms immediately and called for vacuum trucks to remove contaminated water from the creek and transfer it to other engineered storage areas.
This quick action by the farm and a rapid response by the DNR and the Outagamie County Land and Conservation Department helped contain the spill quickly, according to the DNR.
The farm operates under a CAFO permit (concentrated animal feeding operation) issued by DNR and has had a good record of compliance. The farm’s latest annual report indicates it has 950 milking cows.
Cleanup will last several days.
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