Monday, June 20, 2005

environmental effects of sod farming

an excerpt from a article by Sheila Tipton.

"I live in the Leonard, Oklahoma area in a horseshoe-shaped land formation. The Arkansas River surrounds the land formation to the north, east, and west. The land is a sandy loam.

From our investigations, the sod farmers in the region, approximately eight farming operations in a five mile square area, have been operating for about 15 to 20 years.

Many of our citizens in the community, approximately 500 citizens, have reported unusual illnesses.These symptoms are being reported by the majority and not the minority of our citizens.

The Sod Farmers were using biosolid waste on their sod for fertilizing for over a decade, until the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) was notified of possible non-compliance in application of this waste.

Once an investigation was performed, the Sod Farmers were no longer allowed to purchase and use this waste in our area.

My question, however, is what effects might have occurred prior to the Sod Farmers supposedly stopping their use of biosolid waste.

Our water wells have been notably contaminated with high levels of nitrates in and around the main area of this dumping. The levels are from 10-20 Parts Per Million (or PPM, as in 10PPM-20PPM). We have not tested these wells for any other contaminants.

Also, our homestead wells are going dry, seven in one half mile area in the last two years.

For over 50 years old times indicated setting sand points and reaching good quality water at depths of 10 to 15 feet. Since the heavy irrigation of the Sod Farmers over the last 15 years, the citizens have had to go to depths of 30+ feet and some of us still have been unable to reach water.

And then, the water is not the quality needed to support a household.

We have contacted the Oklahoma Water Resources Board (OWRB) and they discovered that the Sod Farmers had been using the groundwater, without the proper permits, for a decade. There was a trial.

The OWRB allowed the Sod Farmers to apply for permits, and they were approved, even though the community offered much evidence of how their long standing operations were affecting and changing our environment.

We have not seen any frogs in our community in over two years....

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