If you’re going to close a manure pit, you need a permit. That was the theme of a meeting of the Taylor County Land Conservation committee today (Monday). The owner of a mink ranch in the town of Goodrich was called to task for attempting to close a dairy manure pit without obtaining the proper permits. County conservationist Ashly Steinke received a complaint on Thursday March 13th. When Steinke visited the site he instructed the contractor to remove the manure laden snow from the field and put it back into the pit and repair the berm of the pit. Approximately 50 of the pit was restored and a new berm was built with soil. The field runs off into Mink Creek which is a tributary of the Rib River. It was estimated that between 50 and 100,000 gallons of manure had been released from the pit.
Scott Mildebrand asked if any of the material had made it to the creek and Steinke indicated he didn’t know. A spill specialist from the Rhinelander DNR is expected to visit the site this week.
The new owner of the farm, Jorn Mogenson told the committee that he knew that permits were needed to build a new pit. But he thought the pit had been emptied and was not aware a permit was needed to close a manure pit. Steve Weise, the operator of the backhoe told the committee that the water in the pit didn’t come over the top of his bucket. He said “I thought it was empty”.
A neighbor who’s a town supervisor, indicated the previous owner was poor at agitating the pit; that it hadn’t been pumped, and that Mogenson was lying.
Committee chair Dave Krug stopped the confrontation. Joanne Smith indicated that whether you’re digging up a septic or a manure pit, regulations state you need a permit.
The committee voted to issue a citation to Jorn Mogenson for failing to obtain a permit prior to closing a manure pit. He must pay $100 per day until a site closing plan is accepted by county conservationist Ashly Steinke. It was noted that the department is in the process of rewriting the language of manure pit management. Ray Soper felt it may be appropriate to include penalties for deliberate acts. While the county has levied a daily fine until the remediation plan is approved, the DNR’s investigation into the matter will continue until the snow thaws, or as one supervisor indicated maybe until July!