The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is investigating the spill of up to one-thousand gallons of manure at an empty swine nursery near Dows in Wright County.
The spill occurred Monday afternoon when employees from Iowa Select Farms were draining the under-building manure storage pits. As they transferred manure to a lagoon, the drain line plugged.
With nowhere to go, the manure ran out of a clean-out port in the drain line flowing under the snow to a tile inlet. The manure ran through the underground tile, discharging into a drainage ditch that flows to the Iowa River.
Much of the manure was apparently captured above a beaver dam in the drainage ditch. Field tests for ammonia showed significantly elevated levels near the dam but reduced levels further downstream.
Specialists from the DNR were fighting extreme cold as they checked the drainage ditch. They were unable to draw samples from the river because of the ice.
On Wednesday, the specialists found no dead fish but continued to monitor the clean up efforts. Staff from Iowa Select flushed the tile line.
The DNR will continue to monitor the clean up and consider appropriate enforcement action.
By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City