By Tony Ends


TOWN OF DECATUR – Board members received final draft of a health and safety measure to regulate manure application and transport last week.

The measure, patterned after ordinances already adopted in neighboring Town of Sylvester in early October, bans center pivot manure distribution.

It also spells out rules for transporting animal manure and by-products with pipelines and hoses.

Decatur is the second of Green County’s 16 townships to prepare an ordinance to protect public health from spraying lagoon wastewater or other liquid manure by-products through nozzles attached to pivoting arms across farm fields.

The seven-page law and public notice cites toxicologist Dr. Robert Thiboldeaux’s 2011 Wisconsin Public Health division warning of substantial health concerns liquid manure irrigation by sprinklers raises.

This method of disseminating liquid manure has put millions of gallons of liquid waste up in the air across sizable tracts of land where livestock are concentrated in large-scale operations.

A proposed dairy to milk more than 5,000 cows and generate more waste than populations of Janesville and Beloit combined is trying to site such an operation west of Brodhead.

The Tuls family, which has two operations with more than 10,000 cows combined in Nebraska, already uses center pivot irrigation there. It also sited a 5,000-cow herd in Rock County southeast of Janesville in 2011.

A Janesville attorney who has prepared liquid manure delivery ordinances for other townships in Rock County drafted law for Decatur. The three-member board of supervisors received copies of the law the afternoon and evening of their Dec. 14 meeting and wanted time for a final read before adoption.

Decatur’s law would require livestock operations to incorporate liquid manure into the ground within 24 hours of application. It controls hoses and pipes to protect health, safety and public property from spills and leakage.

It assigns responsibility and liability to anyone conveying liquid waste and agreeing to take it on their property, as well as to entities generating volumes of manure in this way.

Permitting, installation, design, clean-out, inspection, bonding, licensing, enforcement and penalties are all treated in the manure ordinance to protect health and safety in Decatur Township.

Attorney David Moore, of Nowlan and Mouat in Janesville, agreed to represent the town in October.

Moore worked with Bradford and Johnstown in Rock County, also Richmond Township in Walworth County to craft health and safety ordinances regulating liquid manure application in their townships.

Supervisors in Decatur noted last month that a law firm representing the Tuls family, which wants to construct the 5,000-cow dairy in neighboring Sylvester Township, opposed “a patchwork of ordinances.”

Decatur supervisors agreed to instruct their legal counsel to work with Sylvester to address consistency desires of prospective CAFO operators in Green County.

The new ordinance for Decatur is separate and independent from state CAFO siting rules. It is to protect public health and safety from airborne and water pollution that can sicken or even kill.