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 1,111 violations and discharges, many of them multiple-day violations, confirmed by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality in the Hudson area (see violations list). A 100% failure rate in pollution prevention.
STENCH/EMISSION ALERTS, details, observations, documentation from neighbors on local CAFO air pollution, health concerns
2014 - Recent News
July 24 - CAFO waste application in Maumee Watershed - borders of states don't matter as much as watershed boundaries when it comes to Lake Erie pollution. 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 Maumee/Lake Erie Watershed, where excess nutrients are feeding toxic algae.
The toxin microcystin showed up yesterday in Oregon, Ohio's raw water supply which comes from western Lake Erie. The Toledo Blade reports 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."
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.
#2 - through surface runoff into catch-basins that drain to streams
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.
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).
REASONS TO BE CONCERNED with MANURE IRRIGATION (from Univ. of Wisconsin Extension)
CAFO air emissions: The National Air Quality Site Assessment Tool (NAQSAT) is designed for indivdual livestock operations to assess seven air emissions from their facilities – odor, dust, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, methane, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and nitrous oxide. "Air emissions are becoming a big concern... Livestock farmers should take the steps to better understand the pollutants emitted from their facilities," says MSU Extension. See MSU article and link to NAQSAT web tool to assess emissions by inputting species of livestock and particulars of an individual operation. An output chart recommends areas for "improvements."
NEW VIOLATION: Milk Source's Hudson Dairy cited by DEQ for applying CAFO waste on 4 days on 3 fields not listed in its Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan, as required by the CAFO Permit. DEQ notes that "CAFO waste from Hudson Dairy had been applied to fields in Medina Dairy's CNMP without proper manifest documentation on May 23-25, and May 27, 2014." See details on the violations list and in DEQ Violation Letter.
DEQ tests show extreme E. coli contamination in Fisk Drain, Wolf Creek Watershed in Adrian Twp, June 12, 2014. In May and June, DEQ’s Surface Water Assessment Section conducted a 5-week Water Monitoring Project for E. coli in Fisk Drain at Teachout Rd, Adrian Twp (Wolf Creek/Riv Raisin Watershed), and in Medina Drain at Ingall Hwy, Medina Twp (Bean/Tiffin Watershed) — 2 sites identified as at risk in ECCSCM's 2013 water monitoring projects. DEQ's E. coli results show extreme contamination in Fisk Drain - 1,000,000 cfu/100mL on June 12, 2014; 4,814 cfu/100mL on May 14. Medina Drain was slightly above the Michigan Water Standard on June 12, at 1,249 cfu/100mL.
June 23 - ECCSCM Water Monitoring teams were sampling this morning in the Hazen Creek/South Br River Raisin Project and the Bean Creek Watershed Project. Murky discolored water at numerous sites.
June 19 - Heavy rains and runoff and field tiles are a triple threat to our headwater streams flowing to Lake Erie. Contaminants can flow and Phosphorus can feed the toxic algae blooms in Lake Erie. Agricultural fields, and manure application fields at all CAFOs here, have tile risers, tile inlets, catch basins, to move excess rainwater to sub-surface tiles. Pollutants can also flow directly through these tiles to streams. This can happen even when following GAAMPs (Generally Accepted Agricultural Management Practices) or permit requirements. A recent article, headlined Forecasters predict toxic algae blooms will once again turn Lake Erie into a 'slimy putting green,' discusses NOAA's new tool for predicting harmful blooms in Lake Erie. A researcher notes: “Partly to blame for this expected algal assault are more severe storms, which wash vast amounts of phosphorous into the lake." Photo below shows the consequences of 1.5+ inches of rain on a field at Milk Source's Medina Dairy CAFO. On June 17, liquid manure was applied on this field, parts of which drain to Medina Drain, a stream on Michigan's 303(d) list of "impaired waters." The night of June 18, it poured. There's concern for this runoff draining through tile risers to sub-surface field tiles to the impaired stream - and on to Lake Erie. DEQ has been updated on the situation.
Spring Newsletter posted: Emerging health issue of manure-spraying and aerosolized pathogens; Milk Source drills 5 new high capacity wells, local concern for groundwater depletion.
MORE VIOLATIONS: DEQ Inspection of Terrehaven CAFO and fields finds multiple, ongoing violations, including stockpiling manure in fields for longer than 24 hrs – stockpiles on one field had been in place from April 21 through the day of inspection, May 7. Other violations of the Permit included not incorporating manure within 24 hrs of application; and not incorporating because of saturated ground (CAFO waste may not be applied on saturated ground). In addition, according to its own CNMP, Terrehaven does not to have six months manure storage, a requirement of all CAFOs. More details on the violations list or download DEQ CAFO Reconnaissance Inspection Letter.
LOCAL LAKE CLOSED TO SWIMMING – EXCESSIVE BACTERIA
May 24-25 Memorial Day Weekend - Neighbors reported many manure tankers on Medina Twp roads on Saturday May 24. ECCSCM confirmed the tankers were hauling, back and forth, from Milk Source's Hudson Dairy on US-127 to fields along Packard Rd/Ingall Hwy/Gallup Rd in Medina Twp. A draglining operation and manure dumpbox was set up at the edge of Gallup Rd. Manure application was taking place in fields NOT in Hudson Dairy's Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan (CNMP), but in Medina Dairy's CNMP. It is suspected that is a violation of the CAFO’s permit. There is considerable damage to several areas of asphalt on Lime Creek Rd, and Gallup Rd, a gravel road, is now deeply-rutted, almost impassable where the heavy trucks were traveling. The Lenawee Co. Road Commission received several complaints and will be seeking reimbursement from Milk Source for road repair costs, according to the Adrian Daily Telegram.
FIND THE CAFOS IN YOUR AREA – Click on this Food & Water Watch map
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.