Acting on a complaint, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources is investigating manure runoff from a feedlot in the Great Lakes region of northwest Iowa. D.N.R. specialist Bryon Whiting says the runoff reached the West Branch of the Little Sioux River, some two miles northeast of Lake Park in Dickinson County.
Whiting says: "The runoff was coming from the feedlot and it was caused by snowmelt in the area. The little bit of basin that they did have there to catch some of the runoff was too full and the snowmelt caused liquid manure to run into the river." He says ammonia levels were about 150 parts per million where the concentrated runoff entered the river.
Fish kills commonly occur at about eight-parts per million but D.N.R. investigators didn’t see any dead fish. However, stream levels were high and may have washed any dead fish downstream. Whiting says the feedlot owner, Troy Ahrenstorff, is working with the state officials on corrective measures to help prevent the problem from happening again.
He says the runoff collection basins need to be expanded and better maintained, solids need to be removed and liquid levels need to be kept lower. The D.N.R. is considering legal action for water quality violations, pending test results from water samples that were sent to a laboratory.