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DNR investigates manure spill near Dows

This news story was published on January 23, 2014.
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DOWS – The DNR is investigating a spill estimated at 500 to 1,000 gallons of liquid manure that came from an empty swine nursery facility Monday afternoon near Dows in Wright County.

The spill occurred when Iowa Select Farms’ employees were draining the under-building manure storage pits. As they transferred manure to a lagoon, the drain line plugged. With nowhere to go, manure ran out of a clean-out port in the drain line, flowing under the snow to a tile inlet. The manure ran through the underground tile, discharging into a drainage ditch that flows to the Iowa River.

Much of the manure was apparently captured above a beaver dam in the drainage ditch. Field tests for ammonia showed significantly elevated levels near the dam, but reduced levels further downstream.

With a high of zero degrees and wind chills around 13 below zero Tuesday, DNR specialists were fighting extreme cold as they checked the drainage ditch. They were unable to draw samples from the river because of the ice. They have found no dead fish, but were continuing to monitor the clean up on Wednesday.

Iowa Select staff has flushed the tile line. They started pumping the drainage ditch out and land applying the water Wednesday.

The DNR will continue to monitor clean-up in the area and will consider appropriate enforcement action.

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