Tuaro neighbor demands city get rid of manure mountains
by Richard Gleeson
NNSL (Apr 15/98) - With the sweet smell of spring comes growing concern for a resident who lives next door to the property formerly used by Tuaro Dairy.
Dan Prima alerted city aldermen about the hazards posed to his property and the Sammy's Beach Lake (also known as Fiddler's Lake) by a manure left at the farm, known last summer as the Myers Family Dairy.
"As soon as it starts melting, it's going to run into the little lake next to my house," said Prima, whose Highway 3 property is adjacent to the former dairy farm. The ground from the farm runs downhill to the lake.
Prima said he's also concerned the manure contains chemicals used on the cows, such as bug spray and antibiotics. Parasites that thrive in cattle and their manure are also a worry.
"It's probably just a big worm-egg-infested mass by now," he said.
Prima wants the city to scrape off and remove the layers and mounds of manure on the farm property and in the barn. He estimated that it amounted to 40 truck loads.
"Right now, if the city took all the manure away, we're looking at three years instead of 10 years for the lake to get back to what it was," said Prima.
The farm was home to 67 cows last summer.
Prima raised the issue in a letter to council last week, but the city says the problem is well in hand.
"We'll remove (the manure) before it becomes a problem," said acting administrator Max Hall. The city has yet to determine where it will dispose of the manure, Hall said, but said a dyke has been constructed to hold the material.
"It's not a dyke, it's a pile of dirt," argued Prima.
"Another important thing to note is that Tuaro practised composting -- most of the material is either completely or partially composed," Hall told the works and public safety committee last week.
But Prima said the composting setup on the farm did not work properly, and did little to mitigate the manure problem.
The sweet-smelling byproduct of milk production was an ongoing issue while the dairy was in operation.
Last year some residents protested the city's decision to not charge Tuaro a tipping fee for numerous truckloads of manure it disposed of at the city dump.
A former employee of Tuaro said that during a three-month period in 1996 the dairy disposed of up to five truckloads of liquid cow manure in Fiddlers lagoon.
In the conditional lease-to-own agreement it signed with the city last year, Tuaro asked for and got the city to agree to help it deal with its manure disposal dilemma.
"The city bears responsibility for it because they've always owned the land," said Prima.
Neil Myers abandoned the conditional agreement when he shipped his cows south in September last year.