BRANCHTON — A farm owner and his son were fined $33,125 for spreading manure on frozen ground that got into a neighbour’s drinking water.
Philip Watson, the owner of Philmar Holsteins at Branchton, southeast of Cambridge, was fined $31,250. His son Thomas was fined $1,875.
The Watsons applied liquid manure to a field while the ground was still frozen, which is illegal in Ontario, as is applying manure to land covered with snow.
A wet fall in 2013 had kept them from emptying their manure storage and added volume, and by spring their tank was within an inch of being completely filled.
They made the decision to spread, but an unusually cold winter meant that the ground was still frozen.
After that, a neighbour complained to the Ministry of the Environment that his well water had turned brown and stank of manure.
Watson said that he wasn’t sure that it actually was his cow manure that had gotten into the neighbour’s well because the well became contaminated again later with dog feces. But the cost of fighting it would’ve been more than the fine, he added.