An open air valve on a pump began to leak at a Mitchell County hog confinement Saturday while a commercial manure applicator took a break.
Fortunately, Troy Groeneveld of Tres M Inc., a custom applicator out of Greene, Iowa, was not gone long.
But in just 10 to 15 minutes about 500 to 1,500 gallons of liquid manure leaked from the pump at the Iowa Select Geiger location in Riceville.
“There are two ways the spill could have been prevented,” said Cindy Garza, an environmental specialist at the Mason City DNR field office. “They could have stayed with the pump or shut it off when they left. They could also have checked for low spots and tile inlets before they began to pump, and, if needed, put a plastic sleeve over the tile intake.”
The manure did not reach a stream, but did run downhill into a low spot where it entered an underground tile line and surfaced in a ditch a quarter mile away.
The commercial applicator was quick to shut off the pump, talk to farmers to find out where the tile line enters the road ditch and build a dam to contain the manure in the ditch. He continued to flush the tile line with clean water on Wednesday.
Garza said they were fortunate because it’s been so dry and the land is pretty flat, so it took the manure at least half an hour to reach the road ditch.
The DNR checked the site over the weekend and again Tuesday. They will continue to monitor the cleanup efforts.
For more information contact Cindy Garza at 641-424-4073 or Cindy.Garza@dnr.iowa.gov.