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Northwest Missouri, MO (2010-11-10) The Missouri Department of Natural Resources finds no health threats involved with tannery waste spread on farm fields in fourn northwest Missouri counties. Kirk Wayman has the findings.
The waste came from a tannery and leather hide facility in St. Joseph. Starting in the early 1980's and continuing until last year, farmers used the free by-product as fertilizer in more than a hundred farm fields in Andrew, Buchanan, Clinton, and DeKalb counties- an area covering 56 thousand acres. The DNR study was one of the largest in state histroy- investingating 600 soil samples from 9 private groundwater wells, 19 farm fields, and 10 residential yards. Investigators were focused on the chemical hexavalent chromium found in the tannery sludge. The result: DNR spokeswoman Renee Bungart says the levels came in far below what the EPA has set as a health concern. They set that at 86 parts per million, and the highest level detected in the fields was 5 parts per million, which is well below the threshold of concern. The tannery has since stopped giving out the free sludge as fertilizer and is instead disposing it in a landfill in St. Joseph. I'm Kirk Wayman reporting.
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