Dairy Farm Manure Spill Threatens Environment and Public Health

A manure lagoon in an upstate New York dairy farm burst, creating an environmental disaster and killing hundreds of thousands of fish in nearby Black River. The spill occurred when one of the earthen walls in a manure lagoon on the property collapsed, depositing 3 million gallons of liquid manure into the river.

"...Even without a manure spill, factory farm excrement can poison the water. The intensive confinement of thousands to hundreds of thousands of animals results in quantities of manure that often exceed the soil's absorption rate. When the soil is saturated with higher levels of nutrients than can be absorbed, the result is runoff leading to potentially serious ground and water pollution.

Runoff that reaches the water can cause eutrophication, in which an increase in mineral and organic nutrients depletes the water of oxygen. The ensuing overgrowth of algae and other marine plants competes with fish for oxygen, creating an environment in which plant life thrives while animal life suffers.

Factory farm animal manure also threatens air quality. During decomposition, noxious levels of gases, such as hydrogen sulfide and ammonia, are emitted, putting workers and nearby residents at risk of developing a number of acute and chronic illnesses. Studies have shown that those who live near factory farms are more likely to suffer from a range of medical problems, including diarrhea, sore throat, cough, chest tightness, nasal congestion, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, sudden fatigue, headaches, nausea, sudden loss of consciousness, comas, seizures, and, ultimately, even death..."

Read more of Marks Dairy Farm Manure Spill Threatens Environment and Public Health at the Humane Society.

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