Manure spill seen as wake-up call
By Joe Belanger
London Free Press (Canada)
Published September 19th, 2004
A hog manure spill in Grand Bend is a wake-up call for
Londoners and others about the threat posed by massive
livestock factories along the Great Lakes, says a local
business operator. "It's not hurting my club; it's
about the Great Lakes and they're polluting it,"
said David Scatcherd, owner of Oakwood Inn Resort.
"It's exactly what we don't need in this part of
the country. This part of Lake Huron is where you people
in London get your drinking water."
Ontario's Environment Ministry was continuing yesterday
its investigation of a manure spill into a creek at the
A ministry official could not be reached for comment.
The spill killed fish, known as chub, in Walker Drain.
It's not yet known how much manure spilled from a hog
farm east of the village near the Huron County Playhouse.
And it's still not known if any of the smelly black liquid
reached the Ausable River and, ultimately, Lake Huron.
The Huron County Heath Unit has posted a warning at the
Port Blake Conservation Area beach, just north of Oakwood.
The golf course and resort remained open despite the
Bob Worsell, a health unit inspector, said yesterday
the Port Blake beach was posted as a precaution.
Worsell said he's confident the spill won't affect local
wells, noting most people in the area are connected to
the water system.
"We're doing a risk assessment on local wells and
we're not anticipating a problem," Worsell said.
"It's a surface problem."
Worsell said Friday if the discharge made it through
the mouth of the Ausable and winds were from the northwest,
the discharge could reach beaches in neighbouring Lambton
Scatcherd said although the manure doesn't appear to
be moving through the drain, he's worried that a heavy
rain will carry it to the lake.
"It's just sitting there," Scatcherd said.
"But I think people are worried that it's going
to seep into the ground like what happened in Walkerton.
This is how it happens, isn't it?
"There's been no rain, so it's not moving through
the creek. But once the rain does come it will wash it
right out. Then what?"
A ministry investigator said Friday it appears the spill
occurred when a farmer was pumping manure Wednesday night
and the line ruptured. The identity of the farmer was
not disclosed by health officials.
The spill was discovered when an Oakwood employee noticed
dead fish and a dark substance in the creek at the resort.
A ministry investigator said a report of the probe will
go to the ministry's investigations branch, which will
determined whether charges are laid.
Copyright © The London Free Press 2001,2002,2003