MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is working with a local dairy farm to respond to a discharge of feed leachate to a tributary of Lomira Creek. The farm, Clover Hill Dairy near Lomira, was able to stop the release and is removing polluted water from the stream.

Feed leachate is a byproduct of the fermentation, or ensiling, process used to preserve corn silage and other common feeds for dairy cattle. It’s usually captured by farms and spread on fields like a liquid fertilizer to grow crops. If it escapes to a waterway, it can cause a significant decrease in the amount of oxygen available in the water for aquatic life like fish and tadpoles.

The impacted stream flows south to join Lomira Creek near Highway 28. Water quality in Lomira Creek and nearby marshes appeared normal Tuesday, Oct. 11. 

Upstream from Rolling Drive, DNR staff noted cloudy water, a “sewage” odor and dead fish.

Clover Hill Dairy is a permitted concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) in Fond du Lac County. The farm pumps polluted water from the stream and uses tractors and hoses to apply it to adjacent fields in their nutrient management plan or returning it to their waste storage. DNR staff is monitoring the cleanup.

Learn more about CAFO regulations and permits on the DNR website.

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