The Dilemma

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The Dilemma

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    03-08-2010, 10:50 AM
The Dilemma

I ride across country in the winter because the crops are harvested and the farmers don't mind us cutting through their places.
There is a large cattle operation very close to my house. It has 5 massive arena's full of cattle and massive holding tanks for the sludge/ poop.
This is liquid manure and these tanks are so wide that I couldn't shoot a golf ball across them.
Anyway one is leaking badly leaving a river of liquid manure flowing across the field in the valley and ending in a swamp.
On the far side of this swamp a river starts out of nowhere and flows into a major river.
This slug is being absorbed into the ground at the edge of the swamp, the north side, but a few hundred yards away on the south side a new river of clean water is flowing?
I am concerned about what is happening to the liquid manure and it's effect on the clean water on the other side of the swamp??
My Dilemma is? Do I call the environment and get involved??
Or do I just ignore it, say it is not my problem??
If I get others involved the farmer might put 2 and 2 together and figure out this guy riding over my land is the one who brought this problem on me and I will be refused permission to continue to use his land.
I love riding around his barns in the summer, they present perfect training grounds and he is always friendly. I could loose that but my conscience is bothering me. I see something really wrong and I am doing nothing??
I love my riding, I love being friendly and able to use his land, his barns as a personal training grounds.
Do I screw that up or do the right thing???

Yesterday I was riding with my friend and she didn't think we could cross a river like that of liquid manure. About 200 feet across, 6 -10 inches deep and flowing?? While my horse certainly looked at it a gentle touch with the spurs and he walked out into it without a problem.
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    03-08-2010, 11:16 AM
Don't have an answer for you. It would surely require a little more research.

If it is doing evironmental damage, Then yes I think you should say something.

All farmers have to dispose of manure waste from animals. It is frequently composted and either spread across the fields or sold to the public. I compost my horse manure and give it away to my neighbors each fall and spring. Where it ends up in gardens. So spreading manure across the land is not neccessarily a bad thing.

Many people have septic tanks for their homes. Waste goes in and water comes out through the leech fields. So it's not all bad. It just has to be managed.

I think the concern you have is, How much is ok and when does something need to be done. Maybe some research on how quickly it breaks down, What does it carry into the swamp, It's gone through a holding pond, the time spent as it runs across the field, and then time in the swamp. I am assuming this behave much like a mini Mississippi river delta, where the spring flood bring nutrients down the river and the settiments drop out and eventually fill in the swamp. The question is how much passes through and does it pollute the river. Or has it had ample time to degrade like passing through a septic system.
    03-08-2010, 11:17 AM
If he has been nice enough to let you use his land, you owe him the courtesy of speaking to him face-to-face about your concerns....offer suggestions on how to fix the situation as he probably has equipment to move the pile or re-route the run off. He WILL find out its you and not only will it obviously affect your ability to use/ride on his land, he may be tainted towards other people doing so.
    03-08-2010, 11:28 AM
Why don't you tell the owner maybe he hasnt realised that the tank is leaking?
    03-08-2010, 11:45 AM
Originally Posted by Painted Horse    
All farmers have to dispose of manure waste from animals. It is frequently composted and either spread across the fields or sold to the public. I compost my horse manure and give it away to my neighbors .
this is not horse poop, this is liquid poop, millions upon millions of gallons of poop. 200 acres would not begin to absorb these quantities. Looking down into the vast tanks takes your breath away.
Last year the manure overflowed and got into the river system where he was fined heavily and had pumpers going for days trying to clean up the spill. This year it hasn't made it's way through the swamp yet so it is not noticable at the road. If the river was polluted I would have made the call because anyone could notice it but from where it is right now only someone right on his land could see it.
This is wrong, dumping millions of gallons into a swamp and hoping it doesn't reappear further along but I also don't want to loose my riding area.

Horse manure?? I take tons of it home yearly and cover my flower beds and gardens with several inches yearly. I also spread some on weak lawns and rake it in. I love horse manure and if he dumped it a foot thick on his fields I couldn't care less but liquid is totally different. Just riding over the land in the fall and seeing the thousands of dead dew worms on the surface bothers me. They are burnt with the hot liquid
    03-08-2010, 11:56 AM
I think I would mention it to the owner first. He may not have looked at the tanks recently and doesn't know that it is leaking. If he seems to be concerned and states that he will have it fixed, then I would give him a bit of time to get that done. If he doesn't seem to care at all that it is leaking, I think I would probably notify someone in authority.

We went through something similar with a Braum's Dairy farm. They were dumping their sludge into secluded corners of their property, digging "dead pits" where they would dump hundreds of dead cattle right on the water table. Eventually, all this pollution ended up in Wolf Creek and turned what used to be clean, drinkable water into a greenish brown stagnant creek with inches of foam on top of it. There were ranches downstream that had cattle that often drank out of the creek and dozens of them ended up dying from being poisoned by the tainted creek water.

If he does throw a fit and not let you ride there anymore, it would be your loss but that pollution would eventually make it into the water supply and could do damage to animals and people that have wells that draw the water directly from the supply without being filtered first.
    03-08-2010, 12:02 PM
Originally Posted by XxemmafuriaxX    
why don't you tell the owner maybe he hasnt realised that the tank is leaking?
He got a massive fine last year, had a major road closed for 3 days while they pumped out the river and ditches. This year is just hasn't gotten to the attention of the road, it is still hidden behind the swamp and if the leak is slow enough the swamp will absorb it. But how much can a swamp absorb???
    03-08-2010, 12:04 PM
Oh, goodness. You might still give him one chance to get it fixed after telling him and then go to the authorities.
    03-08-2010, 12:32 PM
Ask the owner about it and if he seems unconcerned then give the enviro folks a call. He may not know about it or he may be in the process of fixing it. It can't be good for his ground to have that much stuff flowing over it.
    03-08-2010, 12:58 PM
Put it this way if he has to clean it up before it hits the river it will cost him less. Would you want to be downstream of this? He probably knows what is going on as it is his job to keep an eye on it. Do the right thing before more damaged is caused. It is not ok to turn a blind eye because it benefits you.

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