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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.

5 comments

  • Brian

    PA Manure Management Program needs improvement – it is critical that all the environmental factors, including the geology and soil are evaluated.

  • Linda L

    Maggie,I agree with you had it been another farmer they would have not said his religion. We have a farm in Clinton county and our neighbor’s are Amish. I am sure they will get togather and try everything to fix the problem. Also if there are barn fire’s in the neighbor hood they help out no matter there religion. Maybe they should check out other field’s in area for sink holes.

    • Maggie

      Thank you, Linda. I am from Clinton County, PA, too. I have a very difficult time believing that this mess came from one farmer. I can only surmise that this one Amish farmer was honest enough to say that he used liquid manure to spray his fields. There are sink holes all over the farming areas in Clinton County. I’m very angry that the farmer’s religion was mentioned in the report. We should all complain, because we all KNOW that they would NEVER mentioned the religion of the farmer if he had been Jewish or Muslim.

  • Maggie

    Lots of farmers use this fertilizing method. I don’t see why mentioning the farmer’s religion, Amish, was necessary. Why does the left wing msm have to demonize Christian religions? If WNEP is going to bring up the farmer’s religion, which has nothing to do with the story, then why not mention the religion of every person in every story, WNEP? The only reason for broadcasting the farmer’s religion was to blast hate across the viewing area. You are all nothing but left wing bigots!!

  • mdog

    “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.
    Frack that..Shalit.

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