ECCSCM meetings – 3rd Wednesday every month, Hudson Community Center, 7:30 p.m.
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In the last 13 years, 13 livestock factories, most of them dairies, have been built in our area – see map of locations. Large livestock operations that confine animals year-round are called Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs).

Environmentally Concerned Citizens of South Central Michigan (ECCSCM) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organized to educate the public on the health risks and the environmental damage Confined Animal Feeding Operations have brought to our community and its watersheds. We developed this website to provide documentation on the pollution and to promote Sustainable Alternatives (buy local food & pasture-based meat--see sources). We support vanguard, responsible agriculture, farming that looks ahead to the next generations, preserves biodiversity, raises animals in a healthy environment, does no harm to its neighbors, enhances the natural assets of living communities, and protects our natural resources -- air, soils, groundwater, streams, and lakes.

As family farmers and neighbors, we believe agriculture must take responsibility for its actions in rural communities. CAFOs have failed us. They have damaged our farming communities, degraded our natural resources, and polluted our watersheds. When liquid manure enters streams or lakes, it is called a discharge. Discharges that violate Michigan's water quality standards are illegal. CAFOs in this area, all of them, have discharged illegally or violated their CAFO Permits. Since 2000, there have been 1,117 violations and discharges, many of them multiple-day violations, confirmed by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality in the Hudson area (see violations list).

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Western Lake Erie Basin - CAFO Manure Input for 2013
Total CAFO Animals (all species) in Western Lake Erie Watersheds = 12,808,065
Total CAFO Annual Manure (liquids and solids) in Western Lake Erie Watersheds = 5,041,051,506 lbs

See full data: total CAFO animals/manure by facility, based on numbers reported to Michigan DEQ 2013 and State of Ohio Livestock Permitting database. Notify ECCSCM if you find omissions or errors, we update the data periodically.

stench STENCH/EMISSION ALERTS, details, observations, documentation from neighbors on local CAFO air pollution, health concerns
stench RESEARCH/STUDIES, national and local research on CAFO risks to water, air, public health; also ECCSCM hand-out with recent books/films
stench NEWS ARCHIVES, 2000-2014, details and photos of the impact of CAFOs in our area, from the beginning

2014 - Recent News (July - Nov 2014) Fall Newsletter - online NOW

Nov 21 - Manure-contaminated wells - Door Co, Wisconsin - Public meeting scheduled next week, Dec. 2, on replacing well water after manure application Sept 8-9 contaminated well water and sickened 7 people. See recent articles on tracing the contamination (bovine) and struggles to replace residents' well water: Nov 21: article on upcoming meeting; Nov 14: article "Seven sickened by tainted wells." At a meeting of the County Soil and Water Dept on Nov. 19, many of the residents of the contaminated area "reported details of family members getting violently ill, a beloved German shepherd dying, and the many hardships associated with living in a home where you can’t drink, cook with or even bathe in the water."

Nov - Terrehaven CAFO is still not cleaned up. More than a year since DEQ filed an Administrative Consent Order (Nov 6, 2013) against Terrehaven in Adrian, production area runoff is still not contained. The Order cited Terrehaven's violations of Michigan’s water protection law and of the CAFO’s Permit, and required evaluation of storage structures. DEQ also sent a Violation Notice to Terrehaven later in Nov 2013 and again in May 2014 for contaminated runoff from the production area (see details on violations list). After all this time, containment walls around silage and stacked manure still have large gaps. Why doesn't DEQ say, "Build a wall. It's the law. Do it now."
Below, aerial photos of Terrehaven production area on both April 2 and Oct 22 show runoff at several locations, with pooling to low areas west of the facility, and apparent flow onto a neighbor’s property.
4-2-14 - breaks in Terrehaven production area containment show paths for runoff, pooling in low areas; some walls over-topped, on the left.

10-22-14 - large gaps in Terrehaven containment and overtopping of low barriers still visible, allowing runoff, apparently flowing onto neighbor's property.

Oct 22 - Bruinsma Dairy CAFO in Morenci is spraying liquid manure in 3 locations - extreme emissions, "horrible, just as bad as you can imagine," and aerosolization from a broad tank spray on Wolf Rd east of North Morenci Rd. See Stench Alerts for more photos.
10-22-14 - Bruinsma spraying corn stubble black, on Wolf Rd east of North Morenci Rd.

Oct 18 - A Daily Telegram article today reports Milk Source will close some lagoons at both Hudson and Medina Dairy CAFOs. In the article, Milk Source also responds to the geyser of waste photo taken by ECCSCM last Sunday: "The photo was taken at the end of the application process when the hose was being cleared, said Avi Stern, communications manager for Milk Source...Once the hose-cleaning process was completed, she said, nutrients were properly integrated into the soil."
However, questions remain about the intensity of the "blowing out" and continued application, leading to ponding of waste in the field.
Sunday, Oct 12 - Milk Source manure application complete, and ponding – an indication waste is either over-applied or not properly integrated into the soil.

Sunday, Oct 12 - "Horrendous." Some of the worst draglining/spewing of liquid CAFO waste we've seen around here - Milk Source's Hudson Dairy is geysering waste into the air from an open-ended dragline hose. A best practice? An acceptable practice? Not for neighbors, not for soils, not for water. Rain predicted tonight, tomorrow and Tuesday. The photos show it all (see more on Stench Alerts): the spewing aerosolization, the black field, the ponding of waste.

Oct 1 - The “Land of 10,000 Lagoons” Awards will be presented by Wisconsin's Family Farm Defenders outside the World Dairy Expo in Madison, WI this afternoon. See Family Farm Defenders' Facebook page for the complete press release. Excerpts here:
•The Biggest Straw Award – goes to Milk Source and "specifically its 4,500 head Richfield Dairy operation in Adams County. In May 2011 the DNR gave the green light to Milk Source to pump up to 72 million gallons of water per year from beneath the Central Sands after which four generous Milk Source employees gave donations totaling $85,000 to Gov. Walker's campaign fund. This sweetheart deal has been cast in doubt, though, due to a pesky citizen lawsuit and subsequent ruling on Sept. 4th, 2014 that the DNR must follow the public trust doctrine and consider the cumulative impact of such high capacity wells on the state's water resources." (see ECCSCM entry for Sept 4 below, with link to the Court ruling).
Freshest Green-Washing Award - goes to the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation/Sand County Foundation for naming (oh yes) Milk Source! as one of its nominees for their so-called Leopold Conservation Award. "Aldo Leopold may be turning over in his grave to think that one of the state's biggest factory farm cheerleaders is now using his good name in such a sordid manner."

Bulletin: new research on manure and water quality - from Bowling Green State University, a study that provides data for western Lake Erie watersheds on the impact of manure applied on frozen/snow-covered ground and within 12 hours before or after heavy rains. Water samples were taken at three farms, from tiles, surface drainage and drainage ditches after manure was applied, with numerous nutrient and bacteria tests performed. Among other findings, test results show that manure runoff after a heavy rain, or after application to snow-covered and/or frozen ground, increases dissolved phosphorus in the water. Dissolved phosphorus is the culprit in feeding toxic algae in western Lake Erie. From the abstract:"results support the findings of others that conclude that most nutrient and pathogen pollution occurs after large rainstorm events and after manure application on frozen ground." See full study: Horstman, Janelle, "The Effects that Liquid and Solid Cattle Manure Have on the Water Quality of Drainage Ditches in Putnam County, OH" (2014).

Sept 24 - Reports from Chicago meeting on Great Lakes water crisis: EPA Adminisgtrator Gina McCarthy announced the new Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Action Plan II, a broad effort to reduce runoff in Areas of Concern (Maumee River Watershed is one of them) and double the restoration of wetlands. Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel hosted the meeting of Great Lakes mayors to discuss ways to protect drinking water in light of a toxic algae bloom that shut down the water system in Toledo in August. The toxic algal threat to drinking water, as detailed in a Detroit Free Press report of the meeting, is "driven largely by a phosphorus overload from agriculture runoff that is plaguing the Great Lakes, from Green Bay, Wis., to Saginaw to the western shore of Lake Erie." Toledo mayor Michael Collins asked for an executive order declaring the Maumee River a "disastrous watershed, and it truly is. I mean the agriculture runoff is incredible." Lana Pollack of the International Joint Commission noted that "environmentalists have been lobbying for years for agricultural phosphorus reductions, to no avail. But she said they may now have some new, powerful allies. 'The voices of change will be most effective,' she said, 'if they come from a public health perspective'."
Consensus from the Chicago meeting: "The discussion is no longer just about the environmental health of the five big lakes. It's also about the health of the millions of people who rely on them for their drinking water."

Sept 4 - BULLETIN: In a Wisconsin case involving high-capacity well permits at Milk Source's Richfield Dairy CAFO, Richfield, WI, a Wisconsin judge ordered that the DNR must consider the cumulative impacts of groundwater pumping when considering new high-capacity well permitsIn a suit brought by WI Friends of the Central Sands and others, the court ruled that the DNR “took an unreasonably limited view of its authority” in not considering cumulative impact to ground and surface water levels, and that the public trust doctrine, statutes, and decades of court precedent required DNR to consider cumulative impacts.  See Wisconsin Court order; also summary and more details at Friends of the Central Sands.

Sept 2 - worst practice: Hartland Farms CAFO draglining liquid manure in the rain.
9-2-14 - Hartland Farms dragline spewing liquid manure in heavy rain, Beecher Rd.

Sept 1 - high microcystin levels in the water at South Bass Island's State Park Beach led to a public health advisory today. A reading of 13 parts per billion was taken from a water sample at the beach, leading to the caution for children, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems to stay out of the water. Public health advisories to avoid contact with the water continue for Maumee Bay State Park beach as well.

Sunday Aug 31 - The Toledo Blade carried two front page articles on CAFO contribution to the toxic algae crisis: [our highlights]
from Corporate farms get blame as key water-pollution culprit - "Jeff Reutter, the Ohio Sea Grant and Ohio State University Stone Laboratory director, frequently makes this point to groups hearing any one of the dozens of presentations he makes each year: More than two-thirds of today’s phosphorus in western Lake Erie comes from agricultural runoff."

from Stricter rules for agriculture debated - "The greatest concern, though, is how the manure is applied to area farm fields — if the fields are oversaturated by the animal waste at the wrong time. Or if it is spread on frozen fields in the winter, allowing it to flow directly into nearby ditches and streams. Pat Nicholson, who spent decades in the sewage-sludge industry as founder of N-Viro International Corp., questions how concentrated manure becomes after it has broken down in lagoons for months. 'That’s been the key to manure use forever,' Mr. Nicholson said. 'The key word is ‘soluble.’ If you put phosphorus on the land in a soluble [liquid manure] form, it all goes straight into the water."

Summer Newsletter just posted here: Toledo water crisis and CAFO connection - how runoff from here reaches Lake Erie; & new CAFO violations.

Local CAFO info below, drawn from ECCSCM Western Lake Erie CAFO Manure database:

CAFO animals, waste totals* for our area in Michigan (Hillsdale, Lenawee Counties)

34,633 animals, mostly cows
producing each year
163,827,000 gals. of liquid waste
stored in 56 waste "lagoons," pits, ponds
and also producing
143,600,000 lbs. of solid waste

Dairy cows produce more than 20 times the waste a human produces
Waste from CAFO cows here = waste from a city of 600,000 people = Boston!

* when Milk Source reaches permitted capacity soon. Source for CAFO data: DEQ 2013 CAFO Permits for these CAFOs:
Bakerlads Farms, Bleich Dairy, Bruinsma Dairy, Halliwill Farms, Hartland Farms, Hoffland Dairy, Milk Source/Camden Dairy, Milk Source/Hudson Dairy, Milk Source/Medina Dairy, New Flevo Dairy, State Line Farms, Terrehaven Farms, White Farms.

Aug 7-11 from Stench Alerts: "Horrendous" emissions over many square miles from Hartland Farms waste applications the last 4 days along Beecher Rd, throughout the weekend. . . Numerous reports to ECCSCM about the stench from neighbors with headaches, nausea, sore throats, burning sinuses. Many people had to close windows Thurs, Fri, Sat nights. Several people had to leave their homes. Extreme emissions continue. MDARD notified, DEQ Air Division notified, also Lenawee County Health Department.

BULLETIN, Aug 2-4: 'Do not drink' water advisory issued for Toledo area - Algal toxin microcystin found in samples
From the Toledo Blade: "The City of Toledo issued a warning early Saturday morning, advising residents not to drink the city’s water...Chemists testing water at Collins Park plant found two sample readings for microcystin that exceeded the recommended “do not drink” standard of one microgram per liter...Before 8 a.m., grocery and convenience stores across the area were out of water. The city‘‍s plant provides treatment services to an area of approximately 400,000 people across 100 square miles.

Runoff from agriculture is the major contributor to Phosphorus entering Lake Erie, which feeds the toxic algae. With industrial livestock operations STILL expanding in western Lake Erie watersheds, more trouble lies ahead. When Milk Source reaches capacity, the 13 CAFOs here will have under their roofs more than 34,600 animals, most of them dairy cows, each producing 20X the waste of a human being - waste loaded with Phosphorus. And all in this small area, waste sprayed and spread on fields that drain to Lake Erie. Many voices, national voices, are at last joining researchers and water scientists in calling for action to control ag runoff. Given the urgency, ECCSCM and other groups are re-newing requests to MDARD and DEQ to take a significant first step and prohibit the application of manure on snow or frozen ground. Further action will be needed to prevent liquid manure from entering catch-basins and drainage tiles.

Examples from here: how excess Phosphorus from manure application fields flows to streams — and to Lake Erie where it feeds toxic algae.
#1 - through sub-surface field tiles that drain to streams
wallace Medinasource
Wallace Cr, with multiple tile outlets; and (right) Medina Dr, where multiple tile outlets are the point of origin for Bean Cr (Maumee Watershed)

#2 - through surface runoff into catch-basins that drain to streams
MDrunoff Dilloncatchbasin catch
Runoff from manure application field at Medina Dairy on Dillon Hwy in June; the same field in July, showing catch-basin (circled, and close-up) that drains runoff to Bean Cr (Maumee Watershed)

#3 - manure runoff from frozen or snow-covered fields
toad creek
manurerunoff wolfcreek
Liquid manure, runoff from snow-covered field through a county drain to the ice of Toad Creek; runoff to drain to Fisher Lake; manure runoff in Wolf Creek

Last week in July - First toxic algae advisories - Maumee Bay State Park, our Maumee Watershed – from Toledo Blade article. On July 26, the Toledo/Lucas Co Health Department notified the public that tests on water near the beach at Maumee Bay State Park "showed microcystin at a concentration of 19.18 parts per billion, more than three times the threshold for safe recreational water activity." Residents are advised to avoid any "green water" in Lake Erie but also "in the lake's tributaries, such as the Maumee River, the Tiffin River [called Bean Creek in Michigan], and the Sandusky River." Microcystin is a neurotoxin "that can make people and animals sick or be fatal in large enough doses. Scientists have found in recent years it is more toxic than arsenic. Residents are advised to keep their distance in general, because microcystis puts out an aerosol that can be inhaled, especially when water is agitated."

July 28 - Note concerns today – 1) Dust Bowl, 2) spray-irrigation into neighbor's woods. 1) Major particulate emissions today, blowing from Medina Dairy field applicaton of slurry/solids on Gallup Rd field. No incorporation, no crop. Dust from manure application fields can carry fecal matter as well as large and small particulates which can aggravate asthma, reach the lungs and cause respiratory problems, other health symptoms.
dust bowl
7-28-14 - Gallup Rd dust, particulate emissions from Medina Dairy waste application.

Also today, July 28, Medina Dairy is spray-irrigating southeast of the facility on Ingall Hwy, with end-spray from the travel irrigator shooting into the trees of a neighbor's woods.
7-28-14 - Milk Source's Medina Dairy end-sprayer hitting a neighbor's woodlot, trees, Ingall Hwy.

NEW VIOLATION: DEQ recently cited New Flevo Dairy (NFD), Forrister Rd, Adrian, for stockpiling CAFO waste without incorporation for 7 days, a violation of the CAFO Permit. Following a complaint about the stockpiling, DEQ inspected NFD on June 27, 2014, and found stockpiles in the field; NFD application records confirmed "stockpiles on the field had been present since June 19." The CAFO Permit requires incorporation of stockpiled waste within 24 hours. See photos of NFD stockpiles from June, 2014, on Stench Alerts.
See NFD Violation Letter.

July 24 - The toxin microcystin showed up yesterday in Oregon, Ohio's raw water supply which comes from western Lake Erie. The Toledo Blade reports that the water test, performed while OhioEPA Director Craig Butler was touring the plant, "had a small but detectable level of microcystin, the toxin produced by microcystis algae." The article notes, "Plant operators are not required to test for microcystin, even though scientists now place it between arsenic and dioxin in terms of its toxicity. Microcystin is capable of killing humans or at least making them sick in large doses."

CAFO waste application in Maumee Watershed - borders of states don't matter as much as watershed boundaries when it comes to Lake Erie. Michigan CAFO waste is being applied in Williams Co, Ohio; Ohio CAFO waste is being applied in Lenawee Co, Michigan these days. But here or there, these fields are all in the western Lake Erie Watershed, where excess nutrients are feeding toxic algae.
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7-24-14 - (left) Michigan CAFO waste to Ohio (Hudson Dairy, Hudson, MI, draglining in Williams Co, OH); (right) Ohio's Oakshade CAFO, Lyons, OH, draglined yesterday in Lenawee Co, MI. Both locations are in western Lake Erie Watershed.
See Stench Alerts for other CAFO waste applications in westerm Lake Erie Watersheds of Michigan.

BULLETIN: July 22 - NOAA's Harmful Algae Bloom Bulletin for July 22 finds, for the first time this summer, a cyanobacteria bloom that has intensified this last week near the Maumee River. The University of Toledo has confirmed the presence of the toxic algae Mycrosystis. "Bloom patches may have developed near the Michigan coast, close to Maumee Bay..."

July 15 - Read "Bracing for Lake Erie Algae threats to drinking water," a Great Lakes Echo interview with Rick Stumpf, NOAA scientist who developed the Harmful Algal Bloom forecast for Lake Erie. The HAB forecast uses "a combination of satellite imagery, computer modeling, and water samples gathered by multiple agencies" to update the toxic algae risks to drinking water and recreation. Stumpf discusses last year's HAB following July rains that washed heavy loads of Phosphorus "from farmland along the Maumee River" into Lake Erie at Toledo. Toxins from the algae spiked to unsafe levels, causing the shutdown of one Ohio drinking water supply.

July 11 - Multiple manure applications from CAFOs: New Flevo Dairy bulldozing, pushing manure stockpiles in field at the facility on Forrister Rd. Milk Source's Hudson Dairy dragline operation shut down on M-34 at Elm Rd, just west of the City of Hudson. Today, just east of the City of Hudson, set-up for next dragline session begins, on Munson Hwy off M-34, near the start of Findlay Trail. Hudson Dairy also spray-irrigating along US-127 east of the facility, north of Donnelly Rd. Milk Source's Medina Dairy also spray-irrigating west of Ingall Hwy north of the facility.
7-11-14 - New Flevo Dairy/NFD bulldozing manure stockpiles on field at the facility, Forrister Rd.

Munson munson drag
7-11-14 - Hudson Dairy, Munson Hwy just off M-34 - the usual dragline set-up, RR car-style dump box, multiple tankers filling it; dragline in operation

7-11-14 - Hudson Dairy spray-irrigating CAFO waste across from facility on US-127, north of Donnelly Rd

July 7 - More manure spray-irrigation, this time at Milk Source's Medina Dairy. Numerous other CAFO manure applications - including Bakerlads, and Hudson Dairy draglining (see Stench Alerts).
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7-7-14 - manure irrigation along Dillon Hwy at Medina Dairy CAFO.

REASONS TO BE CONCERNED with MANURE IRRIGATION (from Univ. of Wisconsin Extension)
• The full extent of health and quality of life risks are unknown and potentially severe.
• Health concerns that aerosol spray drift from manure irrigation could carry pathogens, particulates, antibiotics, endocrine disruptors, cleaning compounds, toxic gases (hydrogen sulfide and ammonia), and ‘super bacteria’ including LA-MRSA. Concerns that contaminants could affect the general population and especially those with compromised immune systems and elderly; concerns that those negative health effects could be magnified because aerosols penetrate lungs and carry toxins to the bloodstream more directly than if ingested.
• Quality of life concerns, reinforced by reports from people who have complained of worsening respiratory health, poor air quality, increased airborne particulates, odor, and contamination of their property as a result of nearby manure irrigation.
• The potential for contamination of surface water and wells from irrigation application, especially in areas where access to groundwater is more direct such as in sandy soil or karst. There are concerns about runoff from precipitation events after manure irrigation application.
• Groundwater quantity concerns that manure irrigation might use excessive amounts of groundwater resources and may draw down wells.
• There are concerns that existing and future setbacks will be inadequate to protect neighbors, surface waterways, and crops in nearby fields.
• There are concerns that monitoring implementation of manure irrigation practices would be difficult and impractical.

FIND THE CAFOS IN YOUR AREA – Click on this Food & Water Watch map
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call 24-hr PEAS (Pollution Emergency) Hotline: 1-800-292-4706

also, for
Air Pollution
(stench, strong odors)
call MDA Right to Farm: 1-877-632-1783
DEQ Air Division, Jackson Dist: 517-780-7481

and for
Water Pollution (runoff from fields, discolored stream, water with odor)
call DEQ Water Division, Jackson Dist: 517-780-7847

or contact ECCSCM – use this form or this email:
and we will report the pollution

Dairy CAFOs confine 700 or more cows, often several thousand cows, in long steel barns, year-round. CAFO cows never graze. CAFOs look like factories, and they are – animal factories.

 pits blackwaste river

Untreated CAFO waste is liquified with clean groundwater – instantly polluted – then pumped to cesspits or holding "lagoons" until it is pumped again and injected or sprayed onto fields around Hudson (pop. 2500). Some manure makes good fertilizer. But too much manure, especially the liquid manure from CAFOs, is a major pollutant of soils and waterways. Animal manure and and animal carcasses contain many pathogens (disease-causing organisms such as Cryptosporidium, E. coli bacteria, Listeria – see a comprehensive list of pathogens and symptoms posted by the Environmental Protection Agency). These pathogens can threaten human health, other livestock, aquatic life, and wildlife when introduced into the environment.

    We call for a moratorium on new and expanding CAFOs.  

 ECCSCM, P.O.Box 254, Hudson, MI 49247
To become a member of ECCSCM
click here