About 1 million gallons of manure spilled from a Fillmore County dairy farm the night of April 14, polluting two trout streams before making its way into the Root River, the Associated Press reported. A concrete wall on the farm’s storage pond collapsed outward causing the spill. The 300-head operation is located outside Canton.
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) staff helped empty the pit, according to spokesperson Cathy Rofshus, who said there were no signs of a fish kill from the manure. MPCA staff continue to walk the creeks and take water samples.
The spill was discovered by one of the owners of the farm, who notified the MPCA. Rofshus said the manure spilled into a road ditch and leaked into Donaldson Creek.
It is unclear at this point if the cold, wet spring contributed to the storage facility’s failure.
Oddly enough, MPCA announced just last week they had awarded Fillmore County Soil and Water Conservation District $92,000 to help pay for special runoff monitoring at five sites on the Root River.
While the Fillmore SWCD regularly monitors the health of area rivers, this water monitoring is special because it captures the level of pollutants in runoff. Water picks up soil, fertilizer and other pollutants as it runs off the land to a stream, lake or wetland. Staff will also take water samples for lab analysis to determine levels of nutrients and sediment.