TITONKA, Iowa – It’s an issue that has many in one small town talking and plugging their noses. Some land just outside of Titonka is to blame. The site is being used to stockpile manure and that has neighbors crying foul odors.
For Tom Higgins, the road he lives on is usually pretty quiet, but recently, traffic has picked up, and it’s causing a very smelly situation.
“Man, when they first started putting it there, I thought they were going to spread it on the field. They just kept coming and coming and coming,” said Higgins.
Just across the bridge from him is a manure stockpile. It started building up two weeks ago. Those who we talked with say the site is being used to store chicken litter waste. It will later be distributed to farmers in the fall, but for Higgins, that’s too much time to smell the stench.
“First thing you do is look out there and look at the flag, and you see which way the wind’s blowing. If it’s blowing from the north you know it’s going to be a bad day,” said Higgins.
One question neighbors have been asking is if this is even legal, but according to DNR Environmental Specialist Dan Bratrud, regulations are being followed.
He says the company that’s dumping the manure, Farm Nutrients LLC, has a certificate through the Iowa Department of Agriculture. According to state code they’re not doing anything wrong.
“It’s challenging at times, especially when it’s a product just due to the licensing that it’s handled differently than other animal manure products,” said Bratrud.
Because of the complaints coming in, Bratrud has done some water quality tests on nearby creeks. He says so far nothing alarming has come up.
“We did go over and view the site. We did not find any run off issues, any indication that manure or contaminated water had left the site,” said Bratrud.
If only that was “good” news to Higgins.
“Well, I’d like to see them haul it out of here. I don’t want it sitting there. Can you imagine what that’s going to be like in July when its 95, 100 degrees around here? Between the flies, stink, and the rats. No.”
According to Bratrud, the Department of Agriculture is in charge of making sure the site is following all the regulations. Meanwhile, the DNR is in charge of nearby water quality. He says he does expect to hear more complaints about the smell and the flies, as the summer progresses.
Again those at Farm Nutrients LLC would not return our call.