News Archives - 2004, 2003, 2002 to beginning of CAFO construction 1997
CAFO must install wastewater treatment system, pay $75,000
Dec. 28, 2004 - DEQ announced that Vreba-Hoff must install
a $1,000,000 wastewater treatment system by December 2005, must apply
for individual NPDES permits for both facilities, and must immediately cease all land application
of untreated waste in the Lime Lake basin, a drainage
area on Michigan's 303(d) list of impaired waters. Vreba-Hoff has
had multiple illegal discharges from fields along Lime Lake Inlet. With
these actions, in settlement of DEQ's lawsuit against the CAFO for multiple
violations, Michigan takes a first step in changing the CAFO waste system
to a less liquid system. Vreba-Hoff must also pay $75,000. See DEQ
press release. ECCSCM applauds Michigan's action
-- the first of its kind in dealing with untreated animal waste.
Wastewater treatment systems -- eventually full wastewater
treatment, as in other industries and municipalities -- individual NPDES
permits, an end to land application of untreated wastes, should
be requirements for all CAFOs. The liquid waste system, the practices,
and the polluting discharges of Vreba-Hoff CAFOs are no different from
other CAFOs here and elsewhere in the state.
Dec. 7, 2004 - rain and runoff -
milky foul stream from Bruinsma CAFO flowed through Morenci
Sportsmen's Club property and into Silver Creek; contaminated runoff from Marvin Farms flowed to Hazen Creek. DEQ water samples
found E. coli count of 500,000/100 ml in Marvin
foul water flowing to Silver Creek
contaminated runoff flowing to Hazen Creek
Oct. 22, 2004 - Cryptosporidium, a pathogen
that can cause serious diarrhea and sometimes death, was found at extremely
high levels, 2,600 oocysts/100L and 860 potentially viable oocysts/100L,
in a water sample taken on October 22, 2004, from Rice Lake Drain at Haley
Rd, immediately downstream from VanderHoff Haley. (see
DEQ task force reports on ag discharge
data, March 2004, at CAFO sites, Lenawee/Hillsdale
Nov 18, 2004 -- DEQ files suit
against New Flevo Dairy following multiple violations.
The suit alleges Arnoud Schot, owner of New Flevo, "discharged agricultural
wastes from his dairy operation in Lenawee County to protected waters
of the state on at least ten occasions. These discharges occurred without
a permit and are alleged to have impacted area waterways including the
Wallace and Penrod County Drains and Hazen Creek. The DEQ alleges that
these discharges contained pollutants at concentrations that may injure
the public health and the environment." (from DEQ
Bean Creek watershed, summer 2004, finds
17 species of freshwater mussels, including 3 species of special concern
-- slippershell, round pigtoe, and rainbow mussel.
Best sites were in St. Joseph Creek, and poorest sites were in Silver
Creek, where no live mussels were found. ECCSCM volunteers coordinated
this survey conducted by aquatic zoologists with the Michigan Natural
Features Inventory, MSU. For more
details, photos of mussels, a clam trail, big-footed pocketbook mussel,
and more! click here.
Aug 4, 2004 - DEQ
files suit against Hoffland Dairy (formerly VanderHoff Haley Dairy) after multiple violations. The suit alleges Mr. Jan Vander Hoff "discharged
agricultural wastes from his dairy operation to Lenawee County’s
Rice Lake Drain and Bovee Drain without a permit on at least seven occasions,
with the most recent occurring on July 31, 2004. In addition, the claim
alleges that these discharges contained pollutants at concentrations that
may injure the public health and the environment." (from DEQ
(Sept. 2003) -July, 2004 - Vreba-Hoff stormwater -- contamination
still flows, after 19 months (see details
Durfee Creek, Medina Drain listed as severely impaired
2 streams draining Vreba-Hoff -- Medina Drain
and Durfee Creek -- have just been added to Michigan's 303(d)
list of "impaired waters." Vreba-Hoff CAFO on Dillon
Hwy was the first built here, in 1997. After 7 years of liquid manure
on tile-drained fields, streams have been severely impaired. In
a few more years, what will happen to all the other streams draining all
the other CAFOs?
Winter and spring pollution
As bad as last year, recent months have brought a terrible series
of liquid manure discharges (50 violations, and that's only counting the
days DEQ was here and taking water samples). More than half of the discharges
were from Vreba-Hoff facilities and fields, with massive
pollution entering Lime Lake. DEQ also cited Vreba-Hoff for multiple
contaminated stormwater discharges, noting, "Numerous water samples
collected from the storm water discharge channel over the past
four months have revealed high concentrations of pathogens and
nutrients indicative of a direct discharge of polluting materials."
(DEQ Notice Letter, June 3, 2004)
See a few photos of discharges, below, from February. No wonder the lake
turned completely green, from algal blooms in May. (See details of violations)
AMERICAN PUBLIC HEALTH ASSOCIATION URGES MORATORIUM ON
NEW FACTORY FARMS-- Pollution,
health, and economic impacts cited as reasons (see APHA
Final report: ECCSCM Water
Final report, April 2004: DEQ biosurvey of
streams near CAFOs finds "significantly impaired" headwaters
of two streams at Vreba-Hoff on Dillon. Both streams added to Michigan's
"impaired waters" list.
Recent harassment of water
March 1, 2, 3.... on through March 24, 25...for three weeks, diesel
fuel spill is flowing into Medina Drain/Bean Creek from Vreba-Hoff.
Finally March 27, after EPA action, a dam and containment system was put
(above) diesel fuel spill from 1,000 gal tank in Vreba-Hoff field, March 1; HazMat booms, fuel overflowing with heavy
rain March 5
40+ illegal discharges Jan-March, 2004 --
(above) liquid manure flows in Wolf Creek (upstream from
Adrian drinking water supply);black water in Lime Lake Inlet East, February,
(above) manure discharging to Lime Lake Inlet East, Feb.
21, 2004,from Vreba-Hoff; May 5, 2004 - the
lake turned completely green, from excess nutrients and algal bloom.
Harassment, vandalism -- ECCSCM condemns recent
harassment of volunteer monitor
We've Heard For The Foul Water
1. It's geese (or deer, or raccoons)
2. It's that house over there
3. It's those 6 horses
4. That's just sediment
5. It's tannins in the water (or cherry trees)
"It's probably those 4,000 cows
& their millions of gallons of waste on the fields"?)
See chronology of Christmas
2003 pollution event from Vreba-Hoff manure application
Dec. 3 - VanderHoff Haley manure
pit overflows at the production area. Liquid manure enters
a catch-basin and drains through tile to Rice Lake Drain, Haley Rd.
Black water flows in Rice Lake Drain leading to Bear Creek in the River
Oct. 15 - after 1" of rain, animal wastes
flowing in several Bean Creek tributaries. Mericam CAFO applied manure in the rain. The Bennett Drain, just downstream, was
flowing dark brown with strong manure odor. The wetland on Dillon Hwy
at Vreba-Hoff was flowing
fast, black water, with Dissolved Oxygen at dead-zone levels, 2.28mg/L.
black water and DO reading at wetland, Dillon Hwy,
Michigan DEQ files suit against Vreba-Hoff for "unlawfully discharging agricultural wastes to waters of the
state from its two facilities." DEQ asks Vreba-Hoff to construct
a waste treatment system -- this is a first and major step towards
cleaning up CAFOs, cleaning up our streams, and stopping contaminated
liquid manure from entering field tiles, drains, and waterways. DEQ is requesting
that the court require Vreba-Hoff to "thoroughly evaluate the design
and management of its agricultural operations and make the necessary changes,
including a potential reduction in livestock, to eliminate illegal discharges
to waters of the state."
See full DEQ press release: http://www.michigan.gov/deq/0,1607,7-135--75227--,00.html
Sept. 19 --19 days of excessive stench and flies with no relief, along Beecher and Cadmus Roads west of Bakerlads dairy.
This facility has sprayed thick, liquid manure since Labor Day-- including
on Labor Day --and almost every day since without turning it under.
flies on inside of car roof, near Bakerlads, 9-3-03; flies in jar, after 10 days at picnic area, Beecher Rd, near Bakerlads.
week of Sept 15 -- extreme odor along
US-127 south of Hudson, near Vreba-Hoff manure application
Sept.12 -- manure odor/emissions from
field application in several areas -- stench in Hudson;along US-127 south
of Hudson; and in vicinity of Dillon Hwy/Medina Rd
Labor Day weekend: excessive flies and stench, after
liquid manure application west of Morey Hwy, north of Cadmus Rd.
Aug 27:stench along Plank Rd near Hughes Hwy
week of Aug 18: horrendous stench
along Cadmus Rd east of Hudson, between Posey Lake Hwy & Morey Hwy
(and 2 miles north, south, east, west, depending which way the wind's
blowing). Hartland Farms applied liquid manure on Cadmus Rd property.
Aug 2- this weekend, Vreba-Hoff 2 illegally discharged the millions of gallons of contaminated stormwater
(see below, April-May) by opening an in-line water strucutre during rains.
All the contaminated water flowed into the Bean Creek Watershed.
DEQ reports that the facility will be cited for a discharge violation
July 9 -- after moderate rains in early July, liquid manure is discharging
at several sites, including an inlet to Durfee Lake, and South Medina
Drain, where the water looks very foul, a reddish-brown color.
South Medina Drain, July 9, 2003
June 12 -- rain brings many discharges, at sampling sites throughout the
area, with extremely high E. coli bacteria counts: Bear Creek
at Beecher -- 21,780; Rice Lake Drain -- 20,790.
June 10, 2003 -- Another manure discharge from Jelsma/Mericam
After application of liquid manure to CRP ground (not allowed), manure
enters field tiles and discharges through Timma Drain to Lime Creek (Bean/Tiffin
Watershed). DEQ found DO levels in Timma Drain at 0.9mg/L.
2 weeks later, Mericam applied liquid manure on the same field!
May 9, 2003 -- After 1" of rain overnight, and rains earlier in the
week, the contaminated stormwater illegally impounded at Vreba-Hoff 2
facility overflows the temporary dikes and
discharges to Lime Lake. DEQ inspects the site, but so
far no action has been taken (except more dikes) to protect
our watershed and the public health. People will soon be putting
in docks at Lime Lake, and swimming. When will DEQ demand
removal of this contaminated water and removal of the temporary dikes?
April 19, 2003 -- Vreba-Hoff cited, fined
for multiple violations. See list. Millions
of gallons of contaminated stormwater were
impounded for months around the Vreba-Hoff 2 dairy CAFO (see photos below).
This facility lies upslope and less than 1/2 mi. from Lime Lake.
The inlets to Lime Lake tested at extremely high levels of E. coli (35,640/100ml at one site; 25,740 at another on March 18).
(Aerial photos taken March 27, 2003)
Vreba-Hoff 2 facility, US-127 south of Hudson, surrounded by contaminated
stormwater (above),looking north; and looking south towards Lime Lake
The American Public Health Association (APHA) has issued a resolution
urging federal, state, and local government health agencies to impose
a precautionary moratorium on all new Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations
(CAFOs). Pollution, health,
and economic impacts cited as reasons for
a moratorium. (see APHA
Feedlot runoff disrupts reproductive systems of wild fish - important findings in a study by The National Institute of Environmental
Health Sciences, just published in Environmental Health Perspectives
(Dec 2003). "Responding to the growth of concentrated animal
feeding operations and the pollutants present in their wastewater (e.g.,
nutrients, pharmaceuticals, and hormones), the US EPA developed a new
rule that tightens regulation of these operations. In this study, we collected
wild fathead minnows exposed to feedlot effluent and observed significant
alterations in their reproductive biology," including demasculinized
male fish. Details and full article available at http://www.ehponline.org/
March 2-15, 2003 -- Liquid
manure applied to frozen ground has been running off fields, pouring into
streams. We've seen massive contamination in three watersheds these two
weeks -- 5 more confirmed discharges. DEQ E. coli samples
at one site on March 4 reached the highest levels yet: 1,340,000/100 ml
(more than 1,300 times the acceptable level). None of the
pollution was contained -- it all flowed downstream into the St. Joseph
River, the River Raisin, or the Bean/Tiffin River to Lake Erie.
3-2-03, manure flow in Toad Creek just reaching
culvert; and 3-8-03 downstream--- Mericam Dairy. After application to frozen ground,
Coman Rd (Wright Twp, Hillsdale County), manure ponded overnight in the
field, then drained across neighbor's property to Farnam County Drain
and directly into Toad Creek, the major tributary of Lime Creek in the
Bean/Tiffin watershed. click
March 2003 -- More
violations from Vreba-Hoff lead to DEQ Administrative Consent Order (ACO),
with $3,100 civil fine and stipulated penalties for future
February 2003 -- Vreba-Hoff finally fined!
After multiple illegal discharges to the Bean Creek Watershed, the State
of Michigan fined Vreba-Hoff 1 (Dillon Hwy, Medina Twp) and Vreba-Hoff
2 (US-127, Wright Twp) $15,000 each, and stipulated penalties
of $2,500 each for any additional violations. In addition, the
two operations will be required to reimburse state costs, construct silage
runoff control systems, and Vreba-Hoff 1 will be required to remediate
a swale and wetland contaminated by silage leachate.
Sunday, March 9, 2003 -- Runoff of manure from fields, into drains and
streams, continues. Six industrial dairies applied liquid manure to frozen
ground in recent weeks -- pollution flows to streams today from all those
applications. Here are just a few photos:
(above) most foul-smelling of all locations, Rice Lake Drain, Haley Rd;Bovee
Drain, Whaley Rd
Toad Creek, Coman Rd; and manure flow inside catch-basin, Drain 261 to
Saturday, March 8, 2003 -- very warm during the afternoon, 40 degrees.
Massive runoff of liquid manure from frozen fields.
liquid manure from field off photo at left, flowing onto neighbor's property
and into catch-basin (center front, in snow) for Miller Drain, which flows
to South Branch of River Raisin.
Friday, March 7, 2003 -- weather is warming slightly. Most streams
are still solid ice, but some drains downstream from fields where liquid
manure was applied are flowing brown.
Bear Creek, Hughes Hwy(left); tributary of South Branch of River Raisin
5, 2003 --all sites had water
discoloration, manure odor
Liquid manure applied to frozen ground is flowing today, both overland
and through tile inlets to county drains and streams. The awful manure
discharge into Toad Creek on Sunday looks like just the beginning.
ECCSCM Pollution Watch volunteers observed at least 5 illegal discharges
today. There is clearly visible pollution of streams in 3
watersheds -- Lime Creek, Durfee Creek, and Toad Creek in the Bean/Tiffin watershed; Bear Creek in the River
Raisin watershed; and a tributary of the East Branch of the St.
Joe in the St. Joseph River watershed.
(above) pulled/blown tile plug US127, drains to Fisher Lake (Bean/Tiffin);
Tamarack drain downstream from liquid manure application (East Branch
of St. Joseph River)
(above) Aftermath of Sunday's huge manure flow to Toad Creek (Bean/Tiffin).
This field shows ponded manure draining to Toad Creek through a county
drain--left, bales pulled this morning, allowing more contamination to
reach Toad Creek; right, bales replaced this afternoon on order of Hillsdale
County Drain Commission.
(above) Durfee Creek at Packard (Bean/Tiffin); Durfee Extension at Dillon
3-13-03, manure runoff to catch-basin on Donnelly
Rd, drain to Fisher Lake (Medina Twp, Lenawee Co.) -- Vreba-Hoff
field locations with massive runoff to drains and streams:
Bothwell & Packard Rds, to Bean Creek -- Vreba-Hoff
2 DEQ-confirmed discharge
Acker Rd, to Durfee Lake -- Vreba-Hoff 2
Tuttle & Tamarack Rds, to East Branch of St. Joseph River -- Vreba-Hoff
Ingall Hwy, to Medina Drain and Bean Creek -- Vreba-Hoff
1 DEQ-confirmed discharge
Dillon Hwy, to Durfee Creek and Lime Creek -- Vreba-Hoff
Forrister Rd, to Hazen Creek -- New Flevo
Hughes Hwy, to Henning Drain and Bear Creek-- Hartland
January 28, 2003 -- everything else is frozen, but drains are flowing
near liquid manure application. See photos.
November, 2002 -- CAFO intimidation tactics. Two manure-tankers and hauler's
truck block ECCSCM Vice-President's car on a country road. See photos.
FIRST DOCUMENTED CAFO VIOLATIONS
March, 2000 – Hartland Farms on Hughes Highway discharges 400,000 gal. of manure into Henning Drain
and Bear Creek; after a delay of 3 wks, negotiating on the clean-up, a
heavy rain washes manure and 12 million gal. of polluted water into Lake
Hudson, a State Park.
February, 2000 - New Flevo Farms on Forrister
Road illegally discharges 20,000 lbs. of milk into drain leading to Wallace
Creek and Hazen Creek in the River Raisin Watershed.
1997-2000 - first dairy CAFOs constructed in the Hudson area