By Press Staff
HOBART – State, county and Oneida Nation staff responded to a large manure spill causing a fish kill in Silver Creek on the Oneida reservation about four miles west of Ashwaubenon Tuesday, Sept. 11.
The spill occurred on the Phil Robertson farm on County Road E, immediately west of the Outagamie-Brown county line.
It was reported at 1 p.m. Monday, Sept. 10, but likely started the night before.
Before the source of the spill was stopped, an estimated 300,000 gallons of manure were released into a grassy waterway and into Silver Creek, a tributary of Duck Creek.
The manure plume did reach Duck Creek in Hobart, field staff confirmed Tuesday, Sept. 11.
Dead minnow species and bluegills have been seen at multiple road crossings on Silver Creek as it flows north towards its confluence with Duck Creek, just north of State Highway 54 near South Pine Tree Road, about 3 miles northeast of the farm.
A pumping service contracted by the farm set out Tuesday to remove tens of thousands of gallons of contaminated water near the confluence by the Brown County Golf Course, according to Ed Culhane, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources spokesperson.
DNR officials tested Duck Creek in Pamperin Park and found no visible fish kills.
“I think Outagamie County and the DNR and the tribe did respond very quickly as soon as it was reported,” Culhane said.
Oneida Nation staff is monitoring water quality with assistance from the DNR, and both agencies have also been collecting water quality samples at several locations.
Brown County and Oneida Nation health officials advise the public to not swim, play, walk or fish in streams in this area or in waters that look or smell like they contain manure, as people and pets can get sick from coming in contact with manure.
A press release said the farm is not a CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation).
The farm contacted a sewage pumper Monday to remove some of the contaminated water.
The farm reported the spill occurred when a valve holding manure in under-barn storage failed and released most of the contents into the farm’s main manure storage structure.
That structure, already nearly full, overtopped and released manure onto a grassy waterway.
A crew from Outagamie County responded immediately after the report and excavated a sump-collection hole in the grassy waterway leading from the farm to Silver Creek.
DNR staff also responded quickly and began coordinating cleanup efforts with Oneida Nation officials.
Culhane said any possible long-term effects are unknown at this time.