Data from an Iowa State University study of earthen manure lagoons is beingdownplayed. Iowa State University researchers didn’t want to offendvolunteer participants in a study of manure lagoons. So, a news releaseabout their research failed to mention over one-third of the older manurestorage structures would not meet new state rules for newly constructedlagoons. Those rules on what’s acceptable manure leakage took effect thisyear. Stewart Melvin of I-S-U was the leader of the research team thecommand from the legislature was to see if there was an impact on waterquality and if they met the standards under which they were constructed. Hesaid they didn’t want to confuse the issue by focusing on the non-compliancefor current standards, so it was included in the report, but nothighlighted. The research team’s detailed, 114-page report concluded 36percent of the lagoons studied would NOT meet new state rules. LindaAppelgate, the executive director of the Iowa Environmental Council, wassurprised the researchers buried their recommendations in the lengthyreport. In their report, the scientists also worried that many of themanure lagoons were built in soils which would quickly allow a spill toreach a water source. Appelgate doesn’t think the lagoon owners in the studywould be offended to find out how their lagoons fared.
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