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Marks Farm, DEC settle over Black River manure spill

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A Lewis County dairy farm has agreed to a $2.2 million settlement for a massive manure spill into the Black River last summer. The Department of Environmental Conservation announced the settlement with Marks Dairy Farm in Lowville yesterday. The farm has agreed to fund over $1.5 million in environmental benefit projects along the Black River and a tributary, Whetstone Creek. It'll also pay $700 thousand in penalties to the DEC. The spill occurred last August 10. The earthen wall of a lagoon holding the liquid manure blew out, sending about 3 million gallons into a drainage ditch and then into the river. The spill killed approximately 375,000 fish in a 20-mile stretch of river. The farm has also upgraded its manure storage facility and handed over development rights for part of the farmland to the DEC. Deparment spokesperson Maureen Wren says that's good for the environment and the public.

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