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Letter: Factory hog farm raises water concerns

As a member of the Cass Rural Water Users District, I am very concerned about our underground reservoirs that are at low levels and not being replenished.

This has become an important issue after all Cass Rural Water Users received notification last week from Jerry Blomeke, General Manager, to conserve water due to recent dry conditions and unusually high water demand.

North Dakota water levels should be everyone's concern, especially when a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) for 9,000 hogs wants to move into our state and plans to use 50 gallons of water per minute or approximately 27 million gallons per year.

I have been told that an artesian well dug last fall in Howes Township on the proposed CAFO site is estimated at 600 feet deep in the Dakota Sandstone level aquifer. Water analysis of four neighboring wells in that same aquifer has indicated higher than normal levels for calcium, magnesium, potassium and chlorides; as well as dissolved solids six times the Environmental Protection Agency's maximum of 500 milligrams per liter; sodium at 975 milligrams per liter when drinking water is normally less than 20 milligrams per liter and sulfates three times higher.

As a previous hog producer, I know using poor quality water is not recommended for raising hogs. It may not be my business if this out-of-state company wants to use artesian water for their hogs, But it is my business if they plan to pipe in Cass Rural Water and ultimately affect the water levels for me and the other 5,000 farms and rural residences of Cass County users and the towns of Casselton, Mapleton, Kindred, Argusville, Gardner, Buffalo, Amenia, Davenport, Arthur, Hunter, Page, Tower City, and Woodlawn.

I believe North Dakota's water is a vital resource that must be protected against large out-of-state CAFOs.

Fraase lives in Buffalo, N.D.