CAFO gets DNR permit despite worries about Jeff city water supply

A hog CAFO proposed by Justin Ostrander to be built in Section 21 in Hardin Township has been granted a draft construction permit by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources despite concerns of contamination to the aquifer from which Jefferson city water is drawn.

At a public hearing Nov. 28 about the Ostrander site, Jefferson city engineer John Milligan said the site is within 1-1/2 miles of the aquifer from which city wells #7 and #8 draw. He worried that abandoned wells, either pump or artesian, in the area included in the manure management plan could provide direct access to the aquifer. A letter outlining those concerns was sent along with the supervisors’ recommendation to approve the construction permit.

County sanitarian Chuck Wenthold told the county supervisors Tuesday the draft construction permit has been approved. He said Milligan’s letter had been forwarded and reviewed by the DNR. Wenthold said there is “a good confining layer there” of soil that would protect the aquifer.

Also on Tuesday, Greene County Farm Bureau board president John McCormick during the supervisors’ public forum portion of the meeting lobbied on behalf of the Ostranders and Iowa agriculture.

McCormick delivered a letter on Farm Bureau letterhead. “Milligan’s concern and focus on water quality is shared by Greene County farmers, which is why farmers like the Ostranders are taking on the challenge of water quality, putting plans in place to be good caretakers of the land,” the letter stated.

According to the letter, the 2012 Ag Census showed more than one-third of all Greene County jobs are in agriculture or ag-related industry. “The Greene County Farm Bureau supports responsible livestock growth in our county and feel strongly that the Ostrander family is committed to continuing their legacy of farming the right way and being great members of our community,” the letter stated.

The complete letter was sent later in the day Tuesday to local media for publication. It is posted under the Opinion tab.

The supervisors complimented McCormick on the letter.

McCormick said Farm Bureau hopes to hold an informational meeting later this winter with Iowa State University experts to help the public better understand manure use and management plans.


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