Local Farmer Raises Concerns over Quality of Drinking Water

FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, Iowa --  "I said that people are drinking crap."

Chris Henning, a farmer in Franklin Township (rural Jefferson), does not mince words when it comes to speaking out about the impact she believes Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) are having on the public`s drinking water.

"When you and I flush each day, we flush and we put two and a half gallons of water with our flush," said Henning. "Well, a pig poops four times as much as you and I do...and the only water that goes in with their poop is their urine."

Graphic as that description may be, Henning believes it's important to spell out exactly what`s going on, so people understand the danger.

"When you have 2400 pigs, four times as much, you`ve got a town double the size of Jefferson in a building and all of that poop in a pit, okay, you know and I know that in town the water with its load goes to the sewage system and they treat it," said Henning. "They don`t treat hog waste. They put it on the ground, ripe, awful, ecoli full, whatever is in it."

And when it rains it goes into the ground, into the tile, and into the creek.

Henning says her well has failed tests for bacteria.

"And when that happens, you pour bleach in the casing..."

Henning raised her concerns to the Greene County Board of Supervisors at a recent public hearing.

"The Supervisor...Mick Burkett from Grand Junction, whose son just happens to have a CAFO, oh, isn`t that interesting, told me that if my well, wouldn`t pass, maybe I ought to drink bottled water," recounted Henning. "There was an audible gasp in the room. I went, yeah, like that`s an answer?!?!"