Letters to the Pilot

Tuesday, September 9, 2003

Make a stink over the livestock stink


There is no denying the fact that factory farms stink! Finally, the DNR is beginning to do something about it. The DNR is now monitoring odor levels and responding to odor complaints as part of a comprehensive study to determine air quality near factory farms. And they are encouraging rural residents to call and report factory farm odor emissions.

The DNR began monitoring hydrogen sulfide and ammonia from factory farms in April of 2002 and are now including odor. The equipment, known as olfactometers or scentometers, are hand-held devices that dilute odorous air with filtered air. The inspector inhales the sample to determine odor concentrations. The devices have been in use around the nation for 40 years.

The polluted air is diluted seven times with filtered air. If an odor is detected after dilution, it is considered excessive by the DNR. This same standard is used in several states.

Unfortunately, there are not clean air rules on the book for factory farms in Iowa and the DNR can only monitor. But Iowa Citizens for Community members vow to keep fighting for clean air rules for factory farms until we get strong laws on the book that will help protect the health and quality of life of lowans.

The DNR needs to hear from rural residents about the amount of factory farm air pollution and odor that exists in our communities! Call your regional DNR field office to report factory farm odor. The northwest Iowa office is in Spencer, (712)-262-4177.

- Betty Little, Bedford