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Wastes From Dairies

April 12, 1987

The Regional Water Quality Control Board should be asked to explain why it is so concerned about protecting ground water from the polluting effects of dairy wastes when it has indicated that it would look favorably on the plan to introduce treated human effluent into the San Pasqual Valley above Lake Hodges Reservoir as mitigation for the lowering of ground-water levels due to the construction of Pamo Dam.

In its attempt to regulate dairies for more than a decade, the board has cited herd size, concentration of the wastes, failure to control barnyard runoff, and contamination of surface streams and ground water as reasons for concern. True, it would be better if herds were dispersed around the county in smaller concentrations, but each time a new dairy is proposed, it fails because of restrictions imposed by the regional board. Local government should exercise proper land-use control by limiting herd size and requiring protective buffers around dairies to prevent conflict with adjacent residential areas.

A factor that appears to have been overlooked is that the pathogens associated with cattle wastes are not the same as the ones affecting the human digestive system, yet testing does not differentiate between them.

If the board is serious about protecting ground water, it should be up in arms about turning a whole ground-water basin over to human sewage disposal and permanently foreclosing its use as an emergency water supply rather than nit-picking the dairies to death over the effects of cattle effluent.

EMILY A. DURBIN

San Diego

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