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Last February I came home from work and noticed the strong smell of manure in the air. The following morning I drove north of my house and observed every field in the area to be covered with manure, on top of two feet of snow.
I know that it is state law that one can not spread manure in the state after December 15th and not before April 1 the following spring. Knowing this , I attempted to contact someone at water quality. Well folks, that was a adventure. After close to three hours of trying, I finally got to talk to a human being. Nice lady, did not have a clue though. She directed me to another person, who was real upset to what I was saying. The gentleman advised he would check it out and get back with me.
Approximately three hours later he called me back and advised that the farmers slurry store had run over, and the agriculture department had issued a three day spread order. If this was the only time this had happened I might have understood. This happens on a yearly basis.
Three days went by, and they were still spreading. I called again and was told that the farmer had equipment failure, and they had granted another 5 days to spread. (BS). When done, the whole area was brown, including lands owned by HUSKY, the proported champions of the enviroment. These slurry stores hold close to 400 thousand gallons of liquid when full.
The topography in the area is quite steep, with everything draining west, to Lake Arrowhead. Then the unthinkable, we got a major thaw. The stream in front of my house is the headwaters to Mallets Creek, which empties into Lake Champlain. Arrowhead Lake empties into the Lamoille River which empties into Lake Champlain. Those two tributaries ran brown for a week.
My concerns are many and as follows:
Why, when all we here about these days is water quality, is this allowed to happen?
Why, on a yearly basis, is this farmer allowed to do this?
Why do we have a water quality division with tied hands?
Why can the agriculture department ignore the rules and issue permits for these activities?
I was advised by water quality they could not intervene if agriculture had issued a permit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
In the town I live in we just spent a large amount of money and time planning storm water mitigation plans as required by the feds. I ask why, when these activities are allowed to happen.
I am not naive to the fact that one faction of state goverment has no idea what the other does. It seems they just violate each others policies to keep a position. This needs to stop.
I know a fellow who was caught taking a dump overboard by a warden. Yes, not the right thing to do, but Sh-- happens. Well he was fined big time, and lost his privilege to hunt, fish and trap for three years in Vermont. Pretty hefty. Yet a farmer can dump 400 thousand gallons in the same lake, and it is not a issue.
I am confused.The quality of Lake Champlain will never improve as long as these events happen, and then state in thier infinite wisdom stands by and allows it to happen.