Last Thursday, the DNR received an anonymous tip about manure runoff from a field owned by one of the state’s largest feedlots that flowed into a nearby stream.

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The DNR investigated the tip and found manure runoff from a saturated field owned by Wendl Feedlot, just south of Carroll. The feedlot owner Brian Wendl was on vacation in Tennessee when the incident happened and drove 900 miles overnight when notified of the incident to oversee the containing and cleaning of the runoff.

The feedlot is the third-largest in Iowa housing up to 20,000 cattle. According to Iowa Capital Dispatch, a worker at the feedlot pumped too much manure water on the field which is what caused the water to flow into the Middle Racoon River.

The report came in Thursday night, but at that time it was too late to investigate it. The DNR went to the site Friday morning where they saw runoff into Willey Creek, which flows into the Middle Raccoon River.

It is still unclear how much manure water flowed into the field. Iowa Capital Dispatch says the basin it was pumped from has a capacity of 36 million gallons,

According to the DNR, they found elevated levels of ammonia in a tributary at the field, but these levels got considerably lower when tested a mile downstream.

Wendl is stopping the runoff by building a berm along the stream. The DNR is monitoring the cleanup and containment of the spill. They will consider appropriate enforcement actions as more information becomes available.

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