State officials are investigating claims that a south-central Idaho dairy pumped manure into a canal, and tests are being conducted on water coming from faucets in nearby homes where residents are complaining the water is discolored and has a bad odor.
4 Bros. Dairy intentionally pumped material from the 10,000-cow dairy into the canal, Lynn Harmon of the Big Wood Canal Company in Shoshone told The Times-News in a story on Saturday. "Apparently, this wastewater has found its way into the drinking water," Harmon said.
The South Central Public Health Department on Wednesday ordered homes within a 20-mile radius of the dairy to boil water.
Dairy owner Andrew Fitzgerald didn't return a call from the newspaper.
The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, Idaho State Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency are investigating. Tap water from 20 homes is being tested.
Casey Kelley, fire chief with the Shoshone City Rural Fire Protection District, said he took water samples Wednesday at the district's fire station in the area of concern.
"It came out positive for e-coli bacteria and chloroform," Kelley said. "The water has a definite light green color and a definite smell. We've never had the smell or color before."
Harmon said the dairy had runoff that flowed into canal that was incidental because of flooding, but he said the dairy also pumped material into the canal.
He said he ordered the dairy to stop pumping into the canal and notified the Idaho Department of Agriculture and the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office.
Sheriff Rene Rodriguez, after sending deputies to the dairy, notified county emergency coordinator Payson Reese, the South Central Public Health Department and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality.
About 40 domestic wells are in the area of concern that extends into eastern Gooding County, Lincoln County Commissioner Rebecca Wood said.