A lot of manure passed through Morenci over the weekend as Vreba-Hoff Dairy sent dozens of tanker loads to a storage lagoon east of town.
“Due to the high rains last week, the manure in some of the storage structures at Vreba-Hoff Dairy lagoons was near or above the freeboard elevations that are set as a safety level,” said dairy spokesperson Cecelia Conway.
Manure from both of the Vreba-Hoff dairies south of Hudson was removed, she said, to prevent an overflow. The 35-mile round trip journeys began Friday night and continued through Sunday.
Rachel Matthews of the Jackson DEQ office explained that the June 2007 interim order from the Michigan Attorney General’s office requires the dairy to transport manure to an off-site treatment facility to prevent manure from exceeding allowable “freeboard” levels—the distance from the manure to the top of the lagoon.
The Chesterfield Dairy on Fulton County Road 14 is included as a treatment facility, she said, and a statement of “no objection” was obtained from the Ohio Department of Agriculture.
“The manure brought to Chesterfield Dairy will be treated either in the new treatment system about to start operation at Chesterfield Dairy or at a nearby composting facility licensed to accept manure,” Conway said.
Several audience members at the Morenci city council meeting Monday voiced concern about the manure tankers.
Steve Vernier of W. Main Street said he was driving into town and noticed the flashing orange lights coming up behind him. He made sure he was going a steady 30 miles an hour and watched to see if the tanker driver was doing the same.
“I about got run over,” he said. “He closed in fast and came to within about 10 feet of me.”
Vernier noted that the city fixed up Main Street a few years ago, but he fears it will get torn apart if heavy equipment traffic continues.
Concern was also expressed about safety Friday night when the tankers passed through town while the downtown lights were out due to storm damage.