Multiple agencies clean up manure spill on Oneida reservation

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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) -- The Wisconsin DNR, state, Brown County and Oneida Nation staff are cleaning up after 300,000 gallons of manure was released into a grassy waterway and into Silver Creek, a tributary of Duck Creek.

The spill was reported at about 1 p.m. Monday, but likely started the night before.

DNR officials say the spill happened on the Phil Robertson farm on County Road E. The farm is not a CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation).

DNR officials say most of the manure is in Brown County.

The farm reported the spill happened when a valve holding manure in under-barn storage failed and released most of the contents into the farm's main manure storage structure, according to a DNR news release.

The structure, already nearly full, overtopped and released manure onto grassy waterway.

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 54 near S. Pine Tree Road

Clean up efforts started after the initial report and are on-going.

“[We] went out and got samples and pictures of fish kills and things like that, but manure was more present in the channel [Monday]. It's essentially traveled downstream now,” says Jim Snitgen, Water Resource Supervisor for the Oneida Nation.

Water clarity officials say most of the manure has cleared out of the creek, thanks to the heavy rain we’ve seen in recent weeks.

“There was far less flow here before the rains, so it would have stayed in the system longer. And more difficult to clean up probably,” Snitgen tells Action 2 News.

But public health officials are warning people that they and their pets, can get sick from coming in contact with manure.

“There's different kinds, different things that people can get from being in contact from manure in water. A lot of times, E. coli,” says Anna Destree, Public Health Officer, Brown County Public Health.

Brown County and Oneida Nation health officials advise the public to not swim, play, walk or fish in streams in the area or in waters that look or smell like they contain manure.

“If they were in the water, I think maybe perhaps watching for signs for symptoms. So if they do experience nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps of any kind. Diarrhea, a fever. They're just feeling a loss of appetite, that they should contact their primary care physician,” Destree says.

Oneida Nation staff will continue to collect water quality samples, to make sure all the manure is flushed out. Though, experts tell Action 2 News, there is a possibility that the liquid manure will travel on to the bay of Green Bay.