Upper Thames River livestock manure and waste management program 1985 - 1986
In the late seventies, Pittock Reservoir began to experience annual beach closures for variable lengths of time each summer, either due to fecal contamination or blue green algae blooms in the nearshore waters. Studies of the Pittock Reservoir watershed found that many factors affect the reservoir water quality. Agriculture is one of the significant contributing sources of downstream water quality problems and has received little attention in the past. Hence the U.T.R.C.A. and M.O.E. initiated studies to assess the potential impacts of agriculture. Over 25% of the identified livestock operations in the reservoir watershed exhibited a potential to pollute nearby watercourses as a result of existing manure and waste management practices (U.T.R.C.A. and M.O.E. 1984). Further follow-up investigations in a smaller sub-basin of the Pittock watershed (Glasman and Hawkins 1985) and the Avon River upper basin (Hayman 1985) identifies livestock access, milkhouse wash water discharges and overland runoff to be the other factors attributing to poor rural water quality. These findings prompted the U.T.R.C.A., in cooperation with M.O.E., Southwestern Region, to document the pollution potential of all livestock operations upstream of Fanshawe and Wildwood Reservoirs which also began to experience beach postings due to public health concerns. Of the more than 2080 livestock operations identified, 324 were considered to have a potential to pollute from manure storage runoff, feedlot runoff and/or livestock access. An additional 523 dairy operations were located which have a potential to pollute via milkhouse wash water discharge to the open water (Appendix A).
Waste Management Reports