Manure and Liquid Nitrogen Spills Occur in North Central Iowa
Posted: 10/11/2011
DES MOINES – The DNR warns manure and nutrient applicators to slow down and take care during the fall application season. Two manure spills and a 28 percent liquid nitrogen spill were reported to the DNR over the weekend in north central Iowa.

A 9,500-gallon manure applicator wagon, owned by Nick Strohbehn Farms LLC, overturned Saturday afternoon on Ubben Ave. a few miles southwest of Williams in Hamilton County. Its contents entered a tile line and flowed to a waterway. Although there was no water flow, approximately 200 to 300 minnows were killed in several pools. Nick Strohbehn Farms erected dikes and pumped the manure out and land applied it.  The tile was flushed and the flush water was applied to land.

In another incident in Grundy County on Sunday afternoon, a local firefighter noticed liquid flowing from a hose connected to a fertilizer secondary containment on Heartland Co-op property in Holland. A float-activated pump had been set up to remove rainwater. A 28 percent liquid nitrogen tank leaked in the containment and approximately 2,000 gallons was pumped to the ground surface. Seneca, an environmental consulting/emergency response company, will remove the spilled fertilizer. The spill did not reach a tile or waterway.

A third incident also involved an overturned 9,500-gallon manure applicator, this one owned by Agri-Zone.  Contents spilled in a road ditch on Forest Avenue between 160th St and 170th St. near Bristow in Butler County. The manure has been pumped out and will be land applied on adjacent fields with the permission of the property owner. No tiles or waterways were impacted.

With water at low levels, it doesn’t take much to cause a water quality problem or fish kill. Producers and applicators are urged to have a plan in place so if spills occur, they can act quickly to stop or reduce environmental impacts.