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#298222 - 07/05/12 05:54 PM Livestock manure contamination problem
CypressTx Offline


Registered: 07/05/12
Posts: 17
Loc: Texas
About ten years ago I designed our .35 acre/500,000 gal pond according to best practices. Treated turbidity with gypsum and achieved 8-10" visibility; first introduced perch, channels, minnows then 10 LMB and all was good for many years--water was translucent green--great vertical food chain--we had 1" freshwater shrimp. Recently a neighbor moved in next door; new construction sent torrents of sediment reducing visibility to near zero then they established a large pile of horse manure on our property line that drains straight into the pond. Recent testing shows e coli above state limits for human contact. Any suggestions for pathogen remediation that will not kill what fish are left? Pumping out and refilling is not an option since many in our area have wells at our depth going dry. Chlorine will kill what little algae is left to oxygenate but will not impact parasites. Thanks!

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#298227 - 07/05/12 06:27 PM Re: Livestock manure contamination problem [Re: CypressTx]
catmandoo Offline
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Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 5685
Loc: Hampshire Co., WV
Cypress -- welcome to Pond Boss.

Yes, lots can be done. I wouldn't use any chlorine. I probably wouldn't suggest any chemicals.

I faced some similar issues a number of years ago at our place. I've been working with it for a few years at a friend's place, which is a horse rescue operation with varying amounts of manure close to the ponds. We aren't done at the friend's farm, but we are nearly there. We did a lot of simple earth moving, split the pond into three sections, and brought more clean water into the ponds. The small pond is to capture the nutrients with lots of plants and aeration. The second pond is the main pond, with huge bass, lots of good size bluegill, and a variety of other fish. The lowest pond is a nursery or grow-out pond, which is currently growing redear sunfish to eventually control parasite grubs in the main pond.

It will take some remediation on your part, but you can build some beautiful and productive ponds. The manure is both good and bad. Over a number of years, I've done a lot of digging to put in small settlement ponds (smaller than 10-ft diameter, and less than 2-ft deep). I've done a lot of grass seeding, and put in a lot of plants -- including horse radish that is finally becoming intentionally invasive. If you've got sun, watercress does real well in wet areas. We've put in a lot of other plants and organic materials to absorb nutrients. Basically, we've built our own wetlands that absorb nutrients.

Keep posting questions. Photos are also very welcome.

Regards,
Ken
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#298408 - 07/06/12 09:15 PM Re: Livestock manure contamination problem [Re: catmandoo]
CypressTx Offline


Registered: 07/05/12
Posts: 17
Loc: Texas
Thanks Ken; here are some photos. Subject manure pile is located in the corner of the neighbor's lot where all the water drains to, then down a swale and into our pond. Redesigning the pond into a waste water treatment plant for my neighbor's manure doesn't set too well with me. Any other ideas would be appreciated as I'm at a loss particularly if the manure pile stays in place.
Thanks,
Michael



Attachments
16225ManurePile.jpg (800 downloads)
16225StartOfManureRunOff.jpg (700 downloads)
Description: This is how the run off starts; with a good rain it is a torrent.

16225ManureRunOffA.jpg (894 downloads)
Description: May be hard to see because of the reflection; manure covers the entire pond.

16225AlgaeBloom030112A.jpg (880 downloads)
Description: Algae bloom a couple of days later.

16225PondBefore.jpg (723 downloads)
Description: What the pond looked like before--translucent green; 8-10" and sometimes 12-14" visibility.




Edited by CypressTx (07/06/12 09:26 PM)

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#298410 - 07/06/12 09:44 PM Re: Livestock manure contamination problem [Re: CypressTx]
Bocomo Offline


Registered: 05/06/12
Posts: 1153
Loc: Boone County, MO (pond)
Wow, your neighbor is not cool. I assume he's not of a mind to pile his horse manure somewhere else?
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#298422 - 07/06/12 10:45 PM Re: Livestock manure contamination problem [Re: CypressTx]
Bluegillerkiller Offline
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Registered: 09/08/09
Posts: 3536
Loc: Illinois, St. louis area
Have you talked to him about the the E-coli issue? Also I'm not sure but I think manure run off into waterways has some regulations?? Could be wrong there.. I'd talk to him first if he's not willing to help contact higher ups about regulations..
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#298429 - 07/07/12 12:02 AM Re: Livestock manure contamination problem [Re: Bluegillerkiller]
esshup Offline
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Registered: 01/26/09
Posts: 24029
Loc: Grovertown, Indiana
Is there any way to dig a trench/swale that will carry the manure laden water around the pond?
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#298430 - 07/07/12 02:51 AM Re: Livestock manure contamination problem [Re: CypressTx]
John Monroe Offline
Member

Registered: 06/03/02
Posts: 1105
Loc: East Central Indiana
If I was attacking this problem this is what I would try,(Water Hyacinth) especially since you live in hot Texas. They might take over your pond but that is what I would be after right now.
====================================================================
The most popular floater is the Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes). This rapidly multiplying plant develops a strong trailing root system which removes excess nutrients and pollutants from the pond. Due to their natural filtering ability, they are commonly used for water purification at treatment plants in the southern states. Occasionally hyacinths will develop a lovely orchid-like flower. ======================================================================
I also like the idea of water cress. I once went to the grocery and bought a bunch, then just push them into the edge of the pond with my fingers and they grew. And perhaps some submerged plants to help aerate the water.
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#298444 - 07/07/12 08:10 AM Re: Livestock manure contamination problem [Re: CypressTx]
Dave Davidson1 Offline
Moderator
Lunker

Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 13567
Loc: Hurst & Bowie, Texas
I would talk to the neighbor first. Ask/tell him to dump that crap elsewhere. Then talk to County Health officials. Then the EPA. Stephenville Texas once had a lot of chicken farms. Their droppings was contaminating the local waters. Now there are no chicken farms there.

Then I would rent a dozer and block off the contaminants from my land.


Edited by Dave Davidson1 (07/07/12 08:15 AM)
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It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP

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#298451 - 07/07/12 09:15 AM Re: Livestock manure contamination problem [Re: Dave Davidson1]
CypressTx Offline


Registered: 07/05/12
Posts: 17
Loc: Texas
Thanks all for the comments. Early on I spoke with him and offered to purchase the materials and help build a suitable structure to contain the manure and to prevent water ingress/outgress (according to manure BMPs) and all he said was "I don't see that there is a problem" and walked off. I have contacted the state and county and they came out but concluded that they don't have any jurisdiction on private lands/waters and all it did was tick him off more when he heard about the complaint. I've spoken to a law firm (specializing in environmental) who tells me that there are civil violations that are a basis for suit, but man---we are talking a lot of money. And if I don't do anything the lawyers tell me that I have basically granted them the right to continue unchallenged in the future. Bluegill, I did have the lawyers send him a letter in which the e coli issue was specifically mentioned and the response from his lawyers was "the state and county were out and didn't see any violations so tough". I'm at my wit's end; we called our pond the crown jewel of our property and had many good times there but now we can't stand to look at it. Dave, the thought of building a berm has passed through my mind but the lawyers tell me that blocking drainage and causing back up on their property would be the basis of a suit against us. They also tell me that if I run a bypass and send it downstream to our next neighbor's pond they could sue us for contaminating their pond. I feel as though I am trapped in a nightmare.
Michael


Edited by CypressTx (07/07/12 09:56 AM)

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#298455 - 07/07/12 10:36 AM Re: Livestock manure contamination problem [Re: CypressTx]
esshup Offline
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Field Correspondent

Lunker

Registered: 01/26/09
Posts: 24029
Loc: Grovertown, Indiana
Michael, if you can't do anything to the neighbor about having your pond contaminated by their manure running into your pond, how can your neighbor do that to you if you make a bypass trench?

Puzzled in Indiana.........
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3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).

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#298461 - 07/07/12 11:07 AM Re: Livestock manure contamination problem [Re: CypressTx]
RAH Offline
Lunker

Registered: 05/17/09
Posts: 4230
Loc: Indiana, Boone County, 25 mile...
I think that backing up the water into your neighbor's property might get you in court to plead you case. I am guessing the worst that could happen would you being required to remove the blockage. However before you do this, you would be wise to ask IN WRITING for your neighbor to stop polluting you pond and creating as health hazard for you and you family. Also, IN WRITING, ask for help from the state department of environmental management and from the health department clearly stating how your neighbor's actions are impacting your property and risking your health. This documentation will be critical in court. If you are not comfortable representing yourself in court, bring someone that you trust or a lawer. I have never sued anyone, but I have been sued. They had a lawer and I represented myself. I was right and I won. But I am proficient at bringing evidence to bear on an issue.


Edited by RAH (07/07/12 11:09 AM)

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#298464 - 07/07/12 12:02 PM Re: Livestock manure contamination problem [Re: CypressTx]
Bluegillerkiller Offline
Hall of Fame
Lunker

Registered: 09/08/09
Posts: 3536
Loc: Illinois, St. louis area
Have you contacted the EPA? I think you need a better lawyer too.. And I'm with Dave build a dam/berm if you can't sue hei can your neighbor sue you??
_________________________
I believe in catch and release. I catch then release to the grease..

BG. CSBG. LMB. HSB. RES.


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#298474 - 07/07/12 01:14 PM Re: Livestock manure contamination problem [Re: CypressTx]
CypressTx Offline


Registered: 07/05/12
Posts: 17
Loc: Texas
essup,the last thing the state told us was "get a lawyer" so we did and we do have the basis for a civil suit. RAH, we did send the demand letter asking them to stop and all they said was "the state and county have been out here and found nothing" where in reality the state and county said that they had no jurisdiction on private lands/waters for this matter. Bottom line: We are up to $6,000 in fees for just sending a demand letter. The law firm can't even give an estimate for going to court (how can they?) and I have a son starting college in the fall. The thought did occur to me to build a berm--which would be cheaper than the demand letter!--and which would probably bring us into court as a defendant and still having to hire an attorney. The problem is so obvious, the solution so simple. I'm trying to make sure that I've covered every possible solution and knew you guys were the experts; I really appreciate your input. As a final comment, I have really enjoyed learning to farm with water--I think that I'll hang out here more often! Thanks a million, Michael


Attachments
16225CC.jpg (613 downloads)
Description: CCs from our pond just the right size

16225PondShrimp.jpg (590 downloads)
Description: When I saw these guys I knew I had built a good vertical food chain




Edited by CypressTx (07/07/12 01:24 PM)

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#298479 - 07/07/12 02:16 PM Re: Livestock manure contamination problem [Re: CypressTx]
Bluegillerkiller Offline
Hall of Fame
Lunker

Registered: 09/08/09
Posts: 3536
Loc: Illinois, St. louis area
You know now that I think of it.. Back before I built my new house we rented a house with a sewer lateral system.. Long story short the sewer system messed up overflowed and ran down a hill off our property to the neighbors lake contaminating it.. He sued the landlord went to court and won the landlord had to pay clean up and all kinds of stuff nothing was ever cleaned up but he was paid for it.. So I know there's something you have to be able todo.. If you have a test showing E-coli and obvious changes in water quality with pictures documenting it then I'd go after the scumbag.. Today he has horse crap running into your pond tomorrow he has sewer running into your water.. Don't roll over for this guy.. My old neighbor (same one that sued us) had horses I hated them he kept them in a 100x100 cage right next to my yard instead of his 40 acre pasture.. So we built a 6' tall privacy fence 6' off the property line wnough space to grow buttloads of ugly weeds and dump all my trimmings and scraps.. OH THAT WAS SWEET REVENGE HE HATED IT AND I LOVED DUMPING IT WHEN HE WAS FEEDING HIS HORSE... I'd just wave and smile..
_________________________
I believe in catch and release. I catch then release to the grease..

BG. CSBG. LMB. HSB. RES.


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#298483 - 07/07/12 03:03 PM Re: Livestock manure contamination problem [Re: CypressTx]
RAH Offline
Lunker

Registered: 05/17/09
Posts: 4230
Loc: Indiana, Boone County, 25 mile...
If you definately decide to sue, be sure to let him know so that he has a chance to resove the issue without cost to you and him. If it were me, I would get my documantation together and build the berm. You can always file a countersuit if he sues.

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#298496 - 07/07/12 06:44 PM Re: Livestock manure contamination problem [Re: RAH]
esshup Offline
Moderator
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Field Correspondent

Lunker

Registered: 01/26/09
Posts: 24029
Loc: Grovertown, Indiana
Hopefully our resident attorney (ewest) will weigh in on this matter.
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3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).

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#298510 - 07/07/12 09:56 PM Re: Livestock manure contamination problem [Re: CypressTx]
ewest Offline
Moderator
Hall of Fame 2014

Lunker

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 19539
Loc: Miss.
I would dig the trench and coat it with hydrated lime. May want to tell him 2 can play that game.
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#298524 - 07/08/12 04:59 AM Re: Livestock manure contamination problem [Re: CypressTx]
John Monroe Offline
Member

Registered: 06/03/02
Posts: 1105
Loc: East Central Indiana
I have a couple of stories but I will only cite one and try to keep it short. Randolph county, IN. is mostly agriculture. A farmer next to me was spreading pig manure into his fields with a high pressure pump that made the spray look like an oil well gusher and stunk the whole area up. I complained. Another farmer took offence and saw a few illegal thistle weeds growing on my small farm (every farm in the county has them) and set in motion this chain of events. I received a notice from the county that a private mower would come in on a certain date and mow my 5 1/2 acre pond area and this could not be stopped except by the complainer. I had thousands of small trees planted in this area at no small expense. I searched for a law to stop this, national, state and local but couldn't find anything. A couple of times I went to the agricultural extension agency and they said why didn't you plant the trees in rows and they would be easy to take care of. I didn't want it looking like corn rows. One day I went in and another agent was there filling in and I told him my story and he said there was a law that said that small trees had to be allowed to grow and not bothered. Bingo! I went to the courthouse and ask for the name of the complainer and they didn't want to give it to me. I said if my trees are cut down I have to have a name to file suit against. Then I went to the farmer that complained and told him I was filing suit the day the trees were cut down. He backed down and stopped the action.
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#298536 - 07/08/12 10:21 AM Re: Livestock manure contamination problem [Re: CypressTx]
CypressTx Offline


Registered: 07/05/12
Posts: 17
Loc: Texas
The area we live in has 5-10-20 acre home sites. The one thing that I've learned is when people move out here they think that they can do anything they want. One guy upwind cleared his 25 acre tract and burned huge piles of downed trees; the smoke was so thick that we couldn't see our property line so the first burn day we all stayed indoors. And the second. And the third. By that time I had things I needed to do; I don't mind a minor sacrifice but this was becoming ridiculous, so several of us complained and he developed a more manageable burn plan. Bottom line, IMHO: What you do on your property is your business, but when it comes onto my property it's my business. RAH, my first offer was to pay for the materials and help provide the labor---that is as low cost/no cost as it gets, and he refused. "What we have here is failure to communicate----some men, you just can't reach."

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#298543 - 07/08/12 11:31 AM Re: Livestock manure contamination problem [Re: CypressTx]
esshup Offline
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Lunker

Registered: 01/26/09
Posts: 24029
Loc: Grovertown, Indiana
You can pick your friends, but unfortunately not neighbors or relatives.
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3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).

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#298552 - 07/08/12 12:06 PM Re: Livestock manure contamination problem [Re: CypressTx]
RAH Offline
Lunker

Registered: 05/17/09
Posts: 4230
Loc: Indiana, Boone County, 25 mile...
I understand that you tried to be freindly, but things may change when your neighbor starts to consider that he may need to hire a lawer to defend himself in court ($$$). It is also useful in court to show that a lawsuit was not your first choice of action. I am a little mistified that your state environmental agency and health department is so unconcerned. I too do not bother myself with what neighbors do until it overflows onto my place. My wife and I worked hard for our land, and we will not let others degrade it.

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#298559 - 07/08/12 01:17 PM Re: Livestock manure contamination problem [Re: CypressTx]
CypressTx Offline


Registered: 07/05/12
Posts: 17
Loc: Texas
I have plenty to show that a lawsuit was not my first choice; this is why I made the offer, and why I called the state and county. I practically pleaded with them to come out and try to find some basis upon which they could write the guy a citation, he'd fix it, the end. I was encouraged when the state field inspector came out, saw the problem and said that he was going to have someone from the state manure management dept. come out and discuss manure BMPs. But when he got back into his office his supervisor determined they had no jurisdiction and the whole thing was dropped. I think a lot of it has to do with very tight state budgets, not enough personnel, too many demands, etc. It was at about this point where I asked them "so I am going to have to hire a lawyer to enforce state laws?" and they replied "yes".

I am concluding that no practical remediation is possible; the only recourse is a court order having them remove the pile, institute BMPs, and continual monitoring of the pond until the health risk abates. According to the "experts" this could be some time. In the meanwhile, with the pond in such a turbid condition I am concerned about available TDO and the health hazards involved with aeration; namely hooking my 3" 270 gpm pump up and shooting a spray of highly contaminated water high into the air where the aerosol can be picked up by the wind and breathed in by anyone nearby.


Edited by CypressTx (07/08/12 01:45 PM)

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#298567 - 07/08/12 03:51 PM Re: Livestock manure contamination problem [Re: CypressTx]
FullCircleTx Offline


Registered: 06/26/11
Posts: 124
Loc: Central Texas
What about trying to tackle this from another angle? As large manure piles are prone to spontaneous combustion (especially in hot weather), any chance the fire department might be of help in getting this pile removed/relocated? 'Just trying to think outside of the box....

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#298594 - 07/08/12 09:39 PM Re: Livestock manure contamination problem [Re: CypressTx]
ewest Offline
Moderator
Hall of Fame 2014

Lunker

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 19539
Loc: Miss.
Add lime to help clean up the water.
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#298624 - 07/09/12 04:35 AM Re: Livestock manure contamination problem [Re: CypressTx]
John Monroe Offline
Member

Registered: 06/03/02
Posts: 1105
Loc: East Central Indiana
Another thought. If the water was tested surely e-coli would show up in it. A big health risk. The state might have to move on that kind of contamination. you might Google Texas and e-coli and see if any kind of precedents have taken place. When e-coli gets into the food chain the whole nations goes crazy trying to locate where it came from.
.
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