Farm owner to clean up his mess

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AUDRAIN COUNTY – One Missouri farmer is righting his wrong following a pig waste leakage into a nearby creek. 

Dale Brinker finished cleaning his farm before leaving on a rare vacation with his wife. He closed up shop and took off, but, when he came back, he had an issue.

“[Before leaving,] I had accidently, it was my fault, flipped the wrong switch and it turned a recharge pump on which pumps water back from the lagoon into the pits,” Brinker said.  “My nephew was here, and he noticed that there was lagoon water back [in the pen].”

The lagoon water holds waste from the farm’s pig facilities. A cracked pipe allowed that lagoon water to trickle down the field into a small stream ditch below the property.

“As soon as we found out about that, I, myself, called the DNR and reported it,” Brinker said. 

Brinker reported the incident on Dec. 2. Department of Natural Resources Environmental Scientist Michael Heaton inspected the scene shortly after.

“[The stream] was not flowing. It did not continue to travel down stream,” Heaton said. “Mr. Brinker did notify us and he was proactive about the cleanup process.”

No drinking water contamination was discovered through the DNR’s inspection, according to Heaton. As of right now, the situation is under control, but Heaton said the DNR is in constant contact with Brinker to ensure the mess gets cleaned up.

Meanwhile, Brinker is trying to clean it up.

“We’ve been using a honey wagon to go down in the branch and pump out what we can,” Brinker said. “We are just trying to mitigate the situation and we are following all of the DNR recommendations.”

Brinker understood he would be receiving a significant penalty from the DNR for allowing substances outside of his facilities.

“I hope people can understand we are human, and we make mistakes,” Brinker said. “I hope they don’t judge all pork producers by the mistake I made.”