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Letter to the editor: Proposed mega-hog farm not a good fit

Thursday, October 3, 2013 - 12:01 am

I live in Ohio and have been visiting Pokagon and Crooked Lake for the past 48 years. I am familiar with the sloping glacial soils that are predominantly sand and gravel. The natural artesian well at the Spring Shelter in Pokagon and by Tom’s Donuts provides the best drinking water you can find. The quality of Steuben County lakes and fresh air is what keeps me coming back. If either suffers, you can rest assured my tourism dollars will not be spent in Steuben County.

The other big issue is the large tankers, trucks and mega-sized equipment that may tear up your paved roads and bridges. Taxpayers have to foot those repair bills. Who pays for the environmental impact to the groundwater? This is the scariest issue and, unfortunately once done, this damage is normally permanent.

Your proposed CAFO is for hogs, but the same road, fly and manure issues apply. Most people say the smell of hog manure is much worse than cattle. Some feel raising hogs in crowded enclosed structures is inhumane, but the biggest problem is manure disposal, pollution from runoff and leaching into groundwater.

My big concern is how this operation will affect Steuben County’s drinking water and the great lake water quality. With your porous soils, there is a good chance you may experience groundwater contamination after an accidental spill or after manure is applied to the fields. This may eventually find its way into drinking water aquifers.

Surface water seeks the lowest level, and I would think there is high potential that the manure will leach into your subsurface water table and eventually find its way into your lakes.

A case study for Steuben County to consider is St. Mary’s Lake in central Ohio. Nutrient-rich farm run-off polluted this lake over time, created foul smells and resulted in life-threatening blue-green algae that made the lake unsafe for public use, which killed property values and tourism.

Wake up, Steuben County (land of 101 lakes)! The proposed hog farm just isn’t a good fit.

Dennis Clapp

Henry County, Ohio