A spokesman with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says good training and quick action helped a farm worker this weekend prevent a spill from becoming an environmental problem.
Rick Martens, an Environmental Specialist in the D-N-R Manchester office, says it happened in southeast Delaware County, near Sand Springs. A professional manure applicator was on his way to a job when “basically, he had a traffic accident,” Martens says, and the wagon overturned and spilled near a stream. From his training he knew he had to stop the flow of the spilled manure.
With the help of a local farmer, the worker built a temporary earthen dam below the spill, and began pumping out the manure. Nobody was hurt in the incident, and Martens says “their quick action prevented what could have been a very serious manure spill.” As a commercial applicator, the worker had received training that’s required for the job, from the Iowa D-N-R.
Martens says that training paid off during the incident this weekend. In the past, Martens says, “What often happened was — nothing.” The spill likely would have gone unreported, maybe someone from the public would have spotted it and reported it days later, and the manure would have entered the stream and caused a serious fish-kill.
The D-N-R says 8-thousand gallons of manure spilled into a ditch adjacent to an unnamed tributary of the North Fork Maquoketa River, and though a small amount got into the waterway and killed a few fish, it’s considered an example of fast response with a good outcome.