A tanker truck accidentally spilled about 2,000 gallons of liquid manure along almost 1,000 feet along Church Road in the town of Casco on Aug. 2.

The spill happened because a driver wasn’t used to the location of the switches inside the cab, according to an email to the Department of Natural Resources from Dave Lacrosse, crop manager for Pagel’s Ponderosa.

Liquid manure is evident along Church Road after a truck accidentally spilled about 2,000 gallons into the roadside and ditch on Aug. 2. (Source: DNR/Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy)

The email and several photos provided by Pagel’s are part of the DNR documentation about the spill. DNR warden David Allen and a Kewaunee County sheriff’s deputy also responded to the scene.

The valve switch is a safety switch, meaning it has a cap to open in order to turn it on, which should prevent such an accident, but he used the wrong switch intending to turn on safety lights, Lacrosse said.

About 2,000 gallons of liquid manure spread across the roadside and shoulder for almost 1,000 feet. Some of it was absorbed into the ground, but a crew from Pagel’s washed most of it to a low point, where they dug a sump and collected manure and the flush water using a vacuum tank.

“In all, we used 7,000 gallons of water and recovered 8,000 gallons of manure and water till everything was flushed clean,” Lacrosse said.

Liquid manure can be seen pouring from a tanker truck in this photo taken by William Iwen.

The incident occurred at about 5:20 p.m. Aug. 2, and William Iwen, one of the founders of the group Kewaunee CARES, happened to be driving behind the truck. He told the county Land and Water Conservation Committee on Tuesday that he was fortunate to be able to brake after the truck suddenly started discharging the liquid manure.

“I think this is a call, we definitely need a strong manure hauling ordinance,” Iwen said. “In view of the expansion of all these CAFOs and megamillions of gallons of waste that has to be gotten rid of, we need drivers that know what they’re doing (and) have the proper training.”

County officials are working on ordinances regulating manure haulers and waste irrigation on farm fields. Votes on the ordinances are expected in September.