To the editor:
I received two telephone calls Thursday about the terrible stench affecting the town of Bouton. Manure was being applied on a tilled farm field at the intersection of 335th Street and U.S. Highway 169. The wind was blowing the odor to Bouton.
I investigated and perceived the awful smell.
I could see a large hose coming from a CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation) at Cedar Farms. The hose ran northwesterly across a field and then northerly in the ditch parallel to U.S. Highway 169 until it came to a culvert. The hose then went through the culvert under the highway and ran due west on the tilled field to a large pump.
A second hose ran from the pump to a tractor that was knifing the manure into the soil. All in all, there was probably a half-mile or more of hose on the ground, taking the manure from the pit to the tractor.
I did not see any spilled manure, but there was a puddle of liquid in the corner of the field near the tractor.
I wondered how much of this manure would end up running into nearby Beaver Creek.
One person said the manure had been in the pit all year, so it was no wonder it smelled so bad. This person asked why the manure was not applied when the wind was from the other direction so its stench could be blown toward the owner’s house and not toward the residences in Bouton.
The second caller said he took his family shopping in Des Moines all day in order to get away from the smell.
It is too bad the production of this type of stench does not qualify under Iowa law as a nuisance.
According to Chapter 657 of the Iowa Code, “Whatever is injurious to health, indecent, or unreasonably offensive to the senses, or an obstruction to the free use of property, so as essentially to interfere unreasonably with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property, is a nuisance, and a civil action by ordinary proceedings may be brought to enjoin and abate the nuisance and to recover damages sustained on account of the nuisance.”
Ray Harden, Perry