Above and beyond. MPCA recognizes Bartholome Farms for responsible feedlot manure management
Southeast Minnesota’s Karst lands are known for land fractures, sinkholes, and underground streams and caves. These natural land features can make it difficult for communities and farmers to properly manage wastewater and manure lagoons. Bartholome Farms, near Bellechester in Wabasha County, has gone to great lengths and expense to overcome the challenges Karst creates, and responsibly manage their dairy feedlot.
In 2014, Bartholome Farms proposed to build a new liquid manure storage basin, but the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency required a detailed study due to the potential risk to groundwater if a basin were to be compromised by Karst. The study, known as electro resistivity imaging (ERI), locates and maps underground voids and fractures. The ERI confirmed that the proposed basin location was within a high-risk Karst area and indicated significant voids in the bedrock directly below the proposed basin. As a result, Bartholome and the MPCA agreed to reject that location.
More than a year later, Bartholome took the initiative to find a different location, pay for another ERI, and submit a new proposal. This time the ERI confirmed the new location to be lower risk and led to MPCA approval. The approved basin location required higher construction and operational costs, but because it was safer for surrounding resources and ultimately better for the farm, Bartholome moved forward and completed the project last year.
Learn more about Karst lands in Minnesota, and why they are a concern, on the MPCA’s Karst web page.
For continued cooperation and spending significant time and money to follow rules and do what’s best for groundwater, the MPCA thanks Bartholome Farms for responsible feedlot manure management.