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Don't Drink the Water!

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  • Don't Drink the Water!

    Residents of Toledo, Ohio, were told not to drink city water this weekend due to toxins from the harmful blue-green algae in Lake Erie.

    Some are blaming farmers; agricultural runoff is a source of the lake's high phosphorus levels, which supports the algae blooms. But Ohio's ag community says it's been doing all sorts of things to reduce runoff and lower phosphorus levels in the lake.

    What do you think?

  • #2
    I think we don't know what to do with millions (probably billions) of gallons of toxin-laced fracking waste water. I think no farmer wants to cut back much on fertilizer unless the fertilizer is too expensive. I think we're sucking water out of the Ogalala far too fast. I think our troubles will get worse.


    • #3
      Here in Wisconni we have been trying to tackle the ag runoff problem for a couple of decades with mixed results. Converting to permanent grazing pastures does the best but is a small niche for a whole variety of reasons. No-till comes in second best but is very limited because of heavier , cooler soils and more difficulty containing the weeds. Our farmers have gone to reduced tillage and cover crops in a big way. Those seem to work well on most farms. Here in cow country there are huge numbers of manure storage systems and nearly all are emptied in a couple of weeks in early spring to get it onto corn fields for its nutrient content. Unfortunately that makes for a big risk of runoff pollution. Each spring the local creeks and rivers are the color of chocolate milk for weeks at a time . This happens each spring despite big investments and efforts by our farmers. I think the cover crops keeping the soil on the fields shows a lot of potential.


      • #4
        For the last several years we have received warnings about algae problems in area lakes...even farm ponds, but farm
        ponds are a rarity during this drought confuse Ff even more, he should do a search of blue-green algae...
        he will probably be surprised about some of the health benefits and how it is commercially grown, but the bloom
        is a problem...before getting panties in a wade, do a search, it has nothing to do with fracking or the Ogalala.

        Here is a good one to start with:

        Your are welcome.


        • #5
          dennis, I feel bad for you if you do not recognize that wells drying up in the Ogalala is not a good thing for our future. I feel bad for you if you do not recognize that water supplies in a great many areas are beginning to be contaminated from fracking chemicals, and our endless need for energy makes it quite clear that we will eventually poison vast amounts of water aquifers. Personally, I no-til and have buffer strips along my creek. It certainly helps keep the water clean. Is it perfect? I'm sure it is not.


          • #6
            Your agenda didn't fit the topic, and I thought out of gentleman conduct, I would let you know you are way off base..again.

            If you want to start a thread about the Ogallala, I will be right in there supporting attempts
            to save what is left,
            if you want to start a thread on fracking, PLEASE do some research and know what you are
            talking about before blowing smoke.
            Last edited by dennis1; 08-06-2014, 09:51 PM.


            • #7
              Farm Runoff May Be
              Sabotaging Bay's 'Pollution Diet'

              Source: The Daily Press (Newport News, Va.)

              By Tamara Dietrich

              July 27, 2014 — The federal "pollution diet" imposed on Virginia and other bay states is supposed to reduce the phosphorus, nitrogen and sediment dumped into the Chesapeake Bay and its feeder rivers.

              Computer models based on a suite of reduction practices estimate that diet is mostly working.

              But real-world monitoring data shows a different story, according to the Environmental Integrity Project, a nonprofit anti-pollution group based in Washington.

              Measurements of pollution loads that actually make their way into the estuary indicate nitrogen appears to be declining at a slower rate than models predict, and phosphorus and sediment actually appear to be increasing, the group says.

              The most likely reason, according to the EIP, is runoff from farmland.

              "We know more about some of the other big sources because they're required to monitor their discharges and required to achieve a certain waste load allocation," explained Abel Russ, an attorney with the EIP and author of its "Murky Waters" report. "We know very well that they have made the reductions they're required to make. We don't really know how well agriculture is doing — it's hard to monitor as a non-point source, so we don't have the same degree of certainty."

              Farmers in Virginia and other bay states are employing best management practices, or BMPs, to reduce farm pollution stemming mostly from chemical fertilizer, manure and erosion, Abel said. BMPs include fencing off livestock from streams, planting cover crops or reducing tilling to curb erosion and siting green buffers next to waterways.

              But, while it's relatively simple to measure discharges from a point source such as a wastewater treatment plant, it's much harder to measure runoff from swaths of cropland or concentrated feed lots. And when such measurements are made, Russ said, evidence indicates BMPs aren't performing as well as models predict.

              The result is more nutrients and sediment dumped into waterways and, ultimately, the bay than models anticipated, making it less likely that bay states will meet their ultimate goal of a restored bay by 2025.


              Wilmer Stoneman III, environmental specialist with the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, agreed that hard data on farm runoff isn't easy to come by.

              "That's generally because most farmers are harnessing our environment to provide food, fiber and fuel," Stoneman said. "So when you work with a natural system, it is hard to monitor because it doesn't come from a pipe."

              But Virginia is about 62% forested, he said, with agriculture representing less than a third of its land use. The state also has a deer population of about 1 million — nearly the same number as cattle in the state — that generate another manure stream.

              "I think we've been painted with a pretty broad brush for being accountable for all the sources that don't come from a pipe," Stoneman said. "I don't think there's any substantiated data that shows one way or another that agriculture isn't doing the right thing for the environment."

              Russ would agree — the key recommendation in the report is better monitoring of agricultural land, ideally at the level of small watersheds, to build an accurate database.

              Other recommendations are for farmers to reduce chemical fertilizer in a way that doesn't harm crop yields, and for universities or states to monitor the effectiveness of BMPs.

              The report also calls for bay states to build a "margin of safety" into their nutrient trading programs, as the EPA is calling for. So far, said Russ, Virginia is the only state to adopt the practice.

              Under a nutrient trading program, if a farmer reduces his nutrient load by, for instance, fencing his livestock from a stream, earning him about 10 pounds of nutrient credits, he can sell those credits, perhaps to a developer. But to make sure there are no net increases in nutrient loads by miscalculation, the developer will have to buy 2 pounds of credits for every pound to be offset — called a 2:1 uncertainty ratio.

              Phosphorus Problem

              According to the report, agriculture is the largest single source of bay pollutants. In 2013, it contributed 42% of the nitrogen, 57% of the phosphorus and 59% of the sediment delivered to the bay, the report says.

              In a companion report called "Poultry's Phosphorus Problem," the EIP notes that poultry farms on the Virginia and Maryland portions of the Eastern Shore are a key source of phosphorus entering the bay.

              According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the region's 1,339 chicken farms produced more than 500 million broilers in 2012 — as well as more than a billion pounds of manure containing more than 30 million pounds of phosphates, the report says. That manure typically ends up spread over farm fields or pasture.

              The lower Delmarva Peninsula is already saturated with phosphorus, the report says, so much of the manure ends up in the bay through runoff.

              Too much phosphorus and nitrogen cause massive algae blooms or red tides in the bay. The decomposition of algae consumes oxygen in the water and creates dead zones that are lethal for marine life. Sediment clouds the water, keeping sunlight from reaching underwater grasses, and silts over the hard water bottom essential for oysters, crabs and other creatures.

              The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency imposed the pollution diet, or Total Maximum Daily Load, in 2010 on Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York and the District of Columbia. Each state must meet two-year milestones, with specific targets for 2017 and the ultimate goal of a sustainable bay by 2025.

              COMMENTS: 1

              Pollution Diet

              Posted from: Harmon Monk, 8/5/14 at 5:49 AM CDT

              Too much chicken poop. Needs to be carted off the Delmarva Peninsula, won't be cheap.
              - See more at:


              • #8
                Will lower prices on c and sb mean less grown on erosion sensitive areas? The high prices had people around here bulldozing low wet areas flat and adding ditches. We'll see.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by RON11 View Post
                  Will lower prices on c and sb mean less grown on erosion sensitive areas? The high prices had people around here bulldozing low wet areas flat and adding ditches. We'll see.
                  It'll make a difference, cuz you're not gwanna use a pound of fert. extra on cheap corn. That phosphorous is a toughie to lower once it gets below root level. You really have to start changing your rations you feed your critters 1st, then try to raise a crop that uses/reaches the phos. Remember all that di-calcium phosphorous we used to feed milk cows? Not any more.


                  • #10
                    So PERCY, do you suppose there is something going on in this part of the country, where every
                    city and village has to have a 3 pond turd pool for their septic system? Doesn't matter about population,
                    only think about population growth, so it is built big enough...BUT first, the two top requirements,
                    the poop has to be pumped under a river and up to the top of a hill, where the turd pool is located..
                    mean while in the old days, the cabin was located a fair distance from the creek, and when the creek
                    ran dry, they dug a well and still were able to get water, then the out house was between the house and
                    the creek...but with indoor plumbing, and some needed electricity, the outhouse was replace with
                    as septic tank..."usually" fairly close to where the outhouse was, so the drainage still could take place.


                    • #11
                      FISHTAB observations on Madison Wisconsin area lakes-

                      I visited with a young PHD in environmental science while visiting the Madison Wisconsin area. She was standing on a dock at a Sports Bar/eating establishment polling those who docked. Her questions dealt with how we use the lake, the water quality in the lakes, and what we felt the most dominant sources of pollution of these lakes was.

                      I told her our family had visited these lakes for most of the last 50 years. Some years the water was greener than others. Some years the water was weedier than others. Some years of long ago, we even saw many dead fish floating. I believe the lakes are more free of the floating green stuff than they often were over 40 years ago.

                      When asked what I felt the single largest source of water quality issues for these lakes was- with a smirk on my face I said- "anything and everything but agriculture". I followed up tellin' her that just like everybody else I wanted to deny that activities that I personally engage in could create problems. ( soooooooooooooooo ) I fell that septic discharge, muni water discharge, runoff from local lawns, factory discharge, and mother nature's volatile decisions on rainfall created the lakes' biggest water quality problems. The young woman countered that farm animal waste was considered the largest source of P and N in the lakes.

                      I told her that it would be nice if we could have seen this area before so many humans settled here. It is my guess that these lakes in their "natural state" would be a murky green with weed and algae growth cycling up and down with rainfall and flow rates. If this is not so why are farm ponds in prairie states surrounded by large dense grasses murky and green?

                      The Yahara River lakes in this area include Monona, Mendota, Waubesa, and Kegonza. I wonder what practices are required or what incentives for change are offered to farm operators in this watershed?
                      Setbacks from streams/rivers/lakes?
                      Manure management plans?
                      Incentives to better time application of N and P?
                      Other regulation or incentives to manage N and P????

                      What were long ago great lakes for bluegill, crappie, white bass, striped bass, catfish, bullheads, with waaaaaaaayyyyyyy too many carp- now have less bluegill, some crappie- plus many largemouth bass, walleye, northern, and muskie. The change in fish stocked was great for sportsmen but is hard on what was once the easy drift fishing with kids. The new mix of fish certainly thinned out the carp.

                      The young lady did say that it is now illegal to apply lawn fertilizer containing phosphorus to lakeside lawns.

                      I'll let the Wiscansin residents tell ya all what a FISHTAB is.
                      Last edited by jabber1; 08-08-2014, 07:34 AM.
                      “Democracy is the worst form of government, -------------------------------except for all the others.”

                      ― Winston S. Churchill


                      • #12
                        what NO one is talking about in all this, is the crap Detroit is dumping into the waters up river from Toledo..........its not all farmers folks


                        • #13
                          It seems to me that we have shifted from ag N being the issue to Ag N and P being the issue.

                          It also seems to me that we have shifted some of the P concerns from flowing silt laded surface water P to now include soluble P in tile water.
                          “Democracy is the worst form of government, -------------------------------except for all the others.”

                          ― Winston S. Churchill


                          • #14
                            The fact that the Mississippi River has been shut off to barge traffic because of the worst sedimentation problem ever confronted by the Corps of Engineers in Minnesota/Wisconsin area has nothing to do with farmers or with any nutrients getting into lakes or rivers, I'm quite sure. After all, we farmers have become near perfect stewards of the land.


                            • #15
                              FF Years ago before the EVIL farmers destroyed their land and long before people destroyed the astmosphere with carbon dioxide, there were some major enviormemtal issues that occurred. Like just look at our Colorado river basin. Did you all notice that there was an erosin problem back then. I wonder who our liberal friends blame for those canyons and valleys. The libs have to be able to blame somebody for every enviormental occurrence. Who could they blame for those beautiful natural vistas/ washouts????

                              Never let a disaster go without political gain