Pig manure spill cleanup in Chatham-Kent monitored by MOE
Ministry of Environment officials are keeping a close eye on cleanup efforts after a pig manure spill near Lake Erie in east Chatham-Kent.
The spill happened on Tuesday and has since been contained.
Officials with the ministry and in Chatham-Kent confirm pig manure did seep into a small stream that leads into Lake Erie near the small hamlet of Palmyra.
“Well the smell was atrocious," says nearby resident Franny Plumridge.
Plumridge smelled manure Tuesday night. When she went outside to investigate, she found the ravine next to her house was dark with liquid waste.
“The colour of the water is not what it should be, normally the water trickles through all the grass, it's nice and clear, something you could scoop up in your hands and still see your fingers," says Plumridge.
MOE officials suspect the source of dirty water came from a farmer who was spreading liquid manure on a nearby field.
Chatham-Kent staff members were notified late Tuesday afternoon.
“We were able to stop any flow of that material to the municipal drains," says Tim Dick, waste manage director.
Dick says the manure seeped into the ground just like rain water and says the drains in the area were blocked to prevent any further discharge.
“The Palmyra drain we plugged by digging it up, it's a tile drain,” says Dick. “The gray drain is an open drain so we put dirt into the drain to stop flow within that open ditch."
A ministry of environment spokesperson says residents should not be concerned about their drinking water and that samples are being tested anyway.
“There is no downstream drinking water users that would be affected or there would be any drinking water impacts from this spill,” says spokesperson Kate Jordan. “So there are no concerns for drinking water sources in the area."
The ministry says the pig farmer responsible will have to pay for all cleanup costs, but says it's too soon to say if charges or a further investigation is needed.
“This same pig barn is threatening to expand in the next few weeks so we've got a lot of concerns there," says Plumridge.
Plumridge says she and other neighbours received a notification from the municipality about expansion of the pig operation.
She says that doesn't sit well with her.
“This is the beach that I grew up on,” says Plumridge. “This is where I fish with my dad and go on picnics with my mom. I've been living here since I was born and it's depressing. It ruins the beach. It stinks."
The farm owner told CTV News he is aware of the situation. He says the expansion plans are to help ensure the operation is up to speed and that spills or leaks can be prevented.