Supervisors aim to protect health
Hearing is set for May 14
By Jean Caspers-Simmet
CHARLES CITY, Iowa -- The Floyd County Board of Supervisors will consider a health ordinance regulating livestock confinement operations at its May 14 meeting.
Last week, the supervisors set a 10 a.m. hearing for the first reading of the Floyd County Rural Health Protection Ordinance. At the hearing, the supervisors could call for the second of three readings or waive the readings and adopt the ordinance.
Arlin Enabnit, board chairman, said the Board of Health recommended that the supervisors pass the ordinance. A committee, appointed by the supervisors, has been working on the health ordinance since the end of August.
"The Board of Health asked us to pass Worth County's health ordinance last summer, but we decided we needed to have a committee develop recommendations suited to our county,'' Enabnit said.
Floyd County sanitarian Mike Milligan said the proposed Rural Health Protection Ordinance mostly pertains to air and water quality around large livestock-confinement units.
The air quality standards are the same as those recommended as state standards in a report released in February by researchers from the University of Iowa and Iowa State University.
Even though it appears likely the Legislature will pass a livestock bill, it won't take effect until 2003 and 2004, Milligan said. In the meantime, Floyd County will proceed with developing its health ordinance.
Respects the process
Floyd County Farm Bureau president Maurice Johnson, a Floyd pork producer, said that while he doesn't agree that counties have the authority to enact health ordinances to regulate livestock, he respects the process.
"I think that the ordinance is better because livestock producers were involved in the process,'' Johnson said.
The ordinance forbids hazardous air and water emissions from confinement feeding operations and manure storage structures.
Procedures for monitoring air quality complaints and a timetable for making improvements are included.
The ordinance calls for monitoring nitrates, chlorides, ammonia and fecal coliform bacteria. Allowable levels will be those established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
Owners failing to meet air and water emission requirements will be assessed a civil penalty of $50 for each day the emission source is not in compliance unless extenuating circumstances can be demonstrated to the Floyd County Board of Health.
All operations started after the ordinance is adopted will be required to meet the regulations.