Manure spillage fouls nearby rivers in Cache County

UTAH - A manure spill from a Cache County poultry farm has dumped an estimated two million gallons of wastewater into the Cub and Bear rivers since late last week, and state water quality officials are still trying to assess the level of damage.

It could be extensive. Walt Baker, acting director of the state's Division of Water Quality, said Tuesday that the spill has put a "significant organic load" into the rivers that could potentially kill fish, as well as create ammonia problems.

"During the floods in St. George [last month] we had a major sewage break that put a million gallons of wastewater into the river a day, caused significant damage and forced us to issue a health advisory," said Baker. "This time, we didn't have that luxury. But about the same amount of wastewater went in, and the chicken manure is hotter stuff."

Baker says test results won't be available until later this week, but noted that the company, Ritewood Eggs, has no permit to discharge wastewater. It does have a permit for a "25-year" storm runoff event, but even then, only restricted flows would be allowed. Depending on the test results and the extent of the damage, Baker said, a hefty fine could be in the offing.

Company officials feared a wastewater retention pond near their compost facility was about to breach, and decided to relieve the pressure by gouging an opening in one of the pond's berms with a tractor hoe.

But instead of settling into an adjacent field, much of the wastewater flowed into a nearby irrigation ditch, which carried it to the Cub River, then down to the Bear River. The poultry farm is near the confluence of the two streams, not far from the towns of Richmond and Lewiston.

Source: Salt Lake Trbune
calendar icon 16 March 2005
clock icon 1 minute read
© 2000 - 2024 - Global Ag Media. All Rights Reserved | No part of this site may be reproduced without permission.