GREEN BAY – A faulty valve is being blamed for causing a manure spill in Outagamie County that resulted a fish kill on the Oneida reservation.

According to a news release issued by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the agency received a call on the afternoon of Sept. 10 from the Phil Robertson to report the spill. The farm is located on County Hwy E, west of the Outagamie-Brown County line.

A spokesperson from the farm reported that a valve holding the manure in an under-barn storage facility failed and released most of its contents that flowed down to the farm’s main manure storage structure which was nearly full at the time. While the spill was reported around 1 p.m. officials believe the valve most likely failed overnight.

The farm is not a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO), the release said.

DNR officials say the manure emptying into the nearly full storage structure filled it to capacity with the excess escaping onto a grassy waterway. DNR and county officials estimated the manure spill to be around 300,000 gallons.

Workers almost immediately dug a sump pit to try to intercept some of the flow and tried to pump the spill out of the creek, but it already was mixed with enough fresh creek water that it would be impossible to estimate how much manure was actually removed from the 32,000 gallons of water pumped out and returned to Robertson’s storage facilities, said Ben Uvaas an agricultural specialist with the DNR.

Some of the manure that escaped was reported to have emptied into Silver Creek, a tributary of Duck Creek, and killed a number of fish as far as 3 miles away. Field staff also confirmed that the manure plume reached Duck Creek.

Brown County health officials have posted signs at public access points along Duck Creek, warning people not to swim, fish or even wade in the creek, nor to let their pets in, until further notice.

The Oneida Nation staff is monitoring water quality with assistance from the state Department of Natural Resources. The DNR is also assisting Oneida Nation staff with managing the cleanup.

Paul Srubas of USA TODAY NETWORK - Wisconsin contributed to this report.

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