Water Advisory Issued Following Massive Manure Spill

Posted at 11:03 AM, Feb 17, 2014
and last updated 2014-02-17 11:06:42-05

cowsALLEGAN COUNTY, Mich. – The following news release was issued Monday by the Allegan County Health Department following a FOX 17 investigation which revealed a massive spill in some tributaries.

(ALLEGAN COUNTY, MI) – Michigan Department of Environment Quality (DEQ) indicates that an unknown amount of liquid manure was released into Weicks Drain, into Bear Creek, and then into the Rabbit River. The manure discharge was discovered on Friday, February 14, 2014. The manure leak has been located and was eliminated on February 15, 2014: so there is no longer any manure actively being released into the Weicks Drain.
The spill will be considered at safe levels after dilution levels and passage has occurred. Monitoring of the local waterways will be continued until those levels are achieved.
Allegan County Health Department issues the following advisory:
• The public should avoid any contact with surface water due to the potential for high bacteria levels. If exposed you should wash thoroughly to remove any potential contaminants.
• It is recommended that Bear Creek and the Rabbit River downstream to where it enters the Kalamazoo River at New Richmond not be used for fishing or recreational activity until this advisory is lifted.
Bacteria found in liquid manure can cause waterborne illnesses. The most common waterborne illnesses are gastrointestinal and may cause vomiting, diarrhea or nausea. Less commonly, skin, ear and eye infections can result from contact with contaminated water.
This advisory will remain in effect until additional data obtained from DEQ indicates the advisory can be lifted.