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Manure spill kills fish in creek near Freedom

A view of Dutchman Creek in Outagamie County July 11, 2017. (WLUK image)
A view of Dutchman Creek in Outagamie County July 11, 2017. (WLUK image)
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OUTAGAMIE COUNTY (WLUK) -- A manure spill killed a high percentage of the fish in a section of creek near Freedom, the state Department of Natural Resources says.

DNR officials say the manure spilled from Neighborhood Dairy into a mile-and-a-half-long stretch of Dutchman Creek. The spill apparently resulted from a valve malfunction, causing manure from a full manure pit to run out of the farm's runoff collection system, according to Ben Uvaas, a DNR wastewater and runoff specialist. The manure then flowed through a grassy swale and into the creek. It flowed northeast, under Section Line and Vans roads, where it stopped at a berm built north of Vans Road. Much of the affected area is in the Oneida Indian Reservation.

The DNR says farm workers responded quickly when the spill was discovered Monday morning, pumping manure from the pit and transferring it to another manure storage facility. They also started excavating berms and called in vacuum trucks to remove contaminated water from the creek. The DNR and Outagamie County Land and Conservation Department also helped.

Farm managers told the DNR their initial estimate was that 20,000 gallons of manure spilled.

Groundwater may not be affected, the DNR says, because of the thick clay soil. However, DNR groundwater specialists are monitoring the situation.

DNR officials say the farm operates under a CAFO, or concentrated animal feeding operation, permit and has a good record of compliance. According to the farm's latest annual report, 950 cows are milked there.

Cleanup is expected to continue for several days.

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