NORA, Ill.-- They've said it before, and they'll say it again. Only this time, they'll do so officially.
On Thursday, four Illinois State Geological Survey scientists published a state report that said a large-scale dairy near Nora sits atop an unstable section of land.
The technical classification, they said, is karst. This is a section of land that has cracked and formed sinkholes or caverns that allow surface contaminants to drain into the underlying aquifers that provide drinking water.
The message is not new. Ever since California dairyman A.J. Bos proposed building his facility in Nora, geologists associated with this report have said the land is karst. They testified as such at a preliminary injunction hearing last year, which pitted Bos against the nonprofit organization Helping Others Maintain Environmental Standards, or HOMES.
A Jo Daviess County judge granted the preliminary injunction, and a permanent injunction hearing is scheduled for November. This report should bolster the plaintiffs defense, said HOMES attorney David Albee.
"The data just released should put to rest any contention by developer A.J. Bos that his site is some sort of non-karst island in a sea of karst," he said. "And since the infrastructure already on the site has none of the safeguards mandated by Illinois law for facilities built on karst geology, it should never be allowed to operate."
For now, the dairy cannot operate with more than 100 cows, and Bos' dream sits idle with an estimated $15,000 daily loss.
The study is called "Identification and Characterization of Karst Terrane in Illinois' Unglaciated Region: Results of LiDAR Imagery and Ground Penetrating Radar in Jo Daviess County, Northwestern Illinois." Samuel Panno, one of the scientists publishing the report, headed the project, and the study is based on the field testing conducted by Panno on Feb. 17 and 18.
Panno and his co-workers determined in the study that the dairy "and the surrounding area overlie karstified carbonate bedrock that constitutes a karst aquifer." He went on to say that "if there were spills, leakage or a catastrophic breach in the waste lagoon's containment system, the crevice-karst network would allow the contents to rapidly enter the aquifer and create widespread contamination of groundwater and surface water as well."
While Panno testified at the preliminary injunction hearing that karst existed on site, several experts for Bos countered that opinion and said no karst was found after a team drilled to find aquifers.
Bos did not return a call from the TH.
This article was published on TH Online news site. Yes, it's about Illinois, but still a ray of hope, looking at the big picture. This is the same geography as our area in Wisconsin. So, more good news.
Sorry I haven't posted much. I will get my act together & post about last weekend at the farm soon. The kids were there & we had a lot of fun! This week I got together with a friend I haven't seen since high school. She is going in for brain surgery next week in Pittsburg. Please put your good vibes out there for her.