The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says quick action taken by the crew of a livestock producer in western Iowa’s Audubon County, likely prevented an environmental disaster in a nearby creek.
D.N.R. spokesperson Kevin Baskins says Thursday’s accident happened in the pits of a confinement building owned by Lawrence Handlos. The pits were being emptied of manure when a line from one of the pumps ruptured, spilling about 2,000 gallons of liquid manure into Indian Creek.
Baskins says excavators noticed the broken line and took action to minimize the damage. "The excavators, who were doing some work on the site, were able to get there almost immediately and get a dam across the stream that prevented the manuare from moving (downstream)," Baskins said. "Once they got the manure water contained, they were able to pump it our and land apply it to the nearby crop fields."
Baskins says the incident should serve as a reminder to livestock confinement operators about the importance of regular equipment inspections, especially lines that pump liquid manure. "One of those lines ruptures and sometimes people aren’t around to notice that it ruptured," Baskins said. "So, that’s certainly one thing that people want to keep in mind…keep an eye on those lines, so if something does go wrong, you can get the pumps shut off quickly."
The spill in Indian Creek did not result in a fish kill and Baskins says the D.N.R. is not expected to issue any fines.