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Manure Contaminates Well Water in Clinton County

CRAWFORD TOWNSHIP — There is a stinky situation in one part of Clinton County. Officials say liquid manure spread on a farm ended up contaminating water for six families this week and the problem could get worse before it gets better.

“It’s a lot of an inconvenience, yes,” Caroline Eigenbrod said.

Eigenbrod and her family have been without clean water since Sunday at their house in Crawford Township, outside Jersey Shore.

“Do not drink it, do not bathe in it, do not do your laundry,” Eigenbrod said.

Officials with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection say an Amish farmer was spreading liquid manure on his fields when the manure seeped into a sinkhole on the farm. The manure ended up contaminating water wells in this area of Clinton County.

“It has come back positive for e-coli and col-if,” Eigenbrod said.

Officials say so far six families are affected, but DEP sent letters out to 40 households recommending they do not use well water until they are able to confirm it is not contaminated.

Gene Younkin’s water is not affected, but he is concerned it will be soon.

“At any time it could happen to me as it goes through the layers in the limestone,” Younkin said.

Residents with contaminated water do have access to clean drinking water thanks to township supervisors and the local fire company who are providing residents with as much bottled water as they need. Also, DEP brought in this 5,000 gallon portable tank filled with drinking water.

“I’ve just had to be using little bottles of water. For your dogs and your horse? Yeah,” Eigenbrod said.

Residents say some of their neighbors cannot stay at their homes because they cannot flush their toilets.

“It’s foamy when it comes out and then it’s all brown and yellowish brown. It smells the whole house up. You can smell it before you walk onto the porch,” Younkin said.

“We have to disinfect everything. And then you have the water coming in that’s contaminated, so how pure is it going to be,” Eigenbrod asked.

DEP says the farmer, Levi Stoltzfus, was in compliance with the state’s manure management plan and that this was an accident. DEP says cleaning the well water will not be a quick fix and may take several weeks for nature to run its course and fix the problem. For now, straw has been placed around the sinkhole area to prevent any more manure from leaking into the ground.


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