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Lab Results Show High Organic Content in Megadairy Discharge

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Lab Results Show High Organic Content in Megadairy Discharge

Purple Contaminant in Tributary to Apple River Twice as Potent as Raw Sewage

Warren, IL - On Friday morning, October 1, the proposed megadairy near Nora, IL discharged a bright purple waste material into a tributary of the Apple River.


Water samples were immediately taken from the tributary by HOMES members trained in water sampling protocol, and were analyzed by a licensed water testing lab. The lab results show a very high Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) of 410 mg/l. Raw sewage has a BOD of around 200, and a pristine stream will have a BOD of less than 1.


BOD is a measurement of the amount of nutrients available in a sample.When waste material with a high BOD is discharged into a body of water, it causes a rapid growth of bacteria. The bacteria consume the oxygen normally found in the water, and the lack of oxygen causes fish and other aquatic animals to die.

The lab results also indicated that the purple color was not caused by inorganic chemicals, and is most likely a bacterial overgrowth. It is still not known what bacteria could turn a leachate pond bright purple, and if this bacteria produces any toxins.


Water samples were also taken by the IL EPA and the US EPA, but neither agency has yet released their lab results.


Photographs indicate that this discharge was the direct result of an over application of silage leachate onto saturated ground uphill from the headwaters of the tributary.


Opponents argue that Traditions Dairy's inability to properly control and land apply just 20,000 gallons of silage leachate doesn't ensure confidence that they will be able to safely dispose of over 100,000,000 gallons of animal waste each year should the 5,500 cow facility ever become operational. This would be the first of possibly four such facilities to be constructed in Jo Daviess County in the unlikely event that legal and environmental conditions are met.

Copies of the lab results and photographs taken documenting the sampling procedure are available to the media.

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