Silage leachate pond on site of mega-dairy is dark purple

Leachate pond looking northwest. Aerial photo provided by HOMES

From press release

WARREN, Ill.—An aerial photograph taken Monday morning, Oct. 4, shows that the silage leachate pond on the site of the mega-dairy near Nora, Ill.—in Jo Daviess County about 50 miles northwest of Rockford—is the source of the purple discharge that showed up Friday morning, Oct. 1, in a tributary to the Apple River.

This is the third major discharge of silage leachate from this facility, and this time, both the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. EPA arrived on site to direct clean-up efforts.

Workers hired by the dairy spent the entire weekend pumping purple liquid from two hastily-built retention ponds and spreading it onto neighboring fields. Working as late as midnight Saturday, Oct. 2, and possibly all through the night, efforts to contain and spread the oddly-colored liquid didn’t wind down until Sunday afternoon, Oct. 3.

A temporary berm constructed south of the mega-dairy to prevent this waste from reaching the Apple River was finally removed Monday, Oct. 4, once the water feeding that area was running clear.

A second EPA-ordered containment pond is still on the site of the dairy at the headwaters of the Apple River tributary that is collecting purple waste. Workers will be pumping this discharge into tankers and spreading on fields adjacent to this poorly-sited facility for days to come.

Editor’s note: This press release and photo were provided by Helping Others Maintain Environmental Standards (HOMES), which is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, pro-agriculture group of farmers and citizens dedicated to protecting family farms, rural communities, human health, and the environment by promoting sustainable agriculture and conserving natural resources. For more about HOMES, visit

From the Oct. 6-12, 2010 issue

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