Keeping Farm Pollution Out Of Drinking Water

Keeping Farm Pollution Out Of Drinking Water

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Demco Farm is a dairy farm near Lowville that will be partnering with the Lewis County Soil and Water Conservation District to build a large manure container in order to protect the water quality of the Black River watershed.

"Basically when you have a large dairy operation or any dairy operation, clearly, you have to have ways of dealing with the waste products of the animals," said Nichelle Billhardt, district manager of the Lewis County Soil and Water Conservation District. 

The $1.2 million grant awarded to the soil and water district will be used to store the manure from cows in a large rectangular container with 20 foot high concrete walls and a polyethylene plastic floor.

"This will allow the farm to be able to store in times where it's not a good idea to spread manure like when it's raining or frozen ground," said Billhardt.

Billhardt and her team also received a $65,000 grant to work with two additional farms to install petroleum product containment systems on each farm in order to keep petroleum from spilling into the soil.

This Lewis County project is being watched closely by the city of Watertown because the city's drinking water comes from the Black River and what happens up river in Lewis County could affect what the city has to do at its water treatment plant before it is safe to drink by city residents.

"So this grant, if it removes organics in the water in the Black River, would help us," said Vicky Murphy, superintendent of water for the City of Watertown, 

The grant for Demco Farm is just one of 11 projects across the north country totaling $4 million - aimed at protecting local waterways. 


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