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The value of a life

Editor's note: The following was submitted by Todd County Soil, Water and Conservation District.

In recent news, a local Freeport man lost his life in an accident involving an abandoned manure pit. Our sincerest condolences go out to his family.

While unintentional, a manure pit serves as an endangerment for anyone living in the area. Often, pits are muck-filled with steep sides that are difficult to scramble out of. Perhaps they have filled with precipitation in which someone could drown. A crusted or frozen pit may appear to be solid to the unlearned eye. Finally, an outdated pit can lie within the depths of the water table. As the integrity of the pit degrades, seepage of unwanted nutrients to ground and drinking water increases over time.

Todd County Soil and Water has limited funding available this year for pit closures that are located in the Long Prairie Watershed. This area includes the following townships: Moran, Fawn Lake, Eagle Valley, Ward, Burleene, Iona, Hartford, Long Prairie and sections of the following townships: Round Prairie, Reynolds, Leslie, Little Elk, Turtle Creek, Wykeham, Germania, Bartlett, Staples, and Villard.

The funding covers 75 percent of closure costs. The cost to close a pit varies from contractor to contractor, accordingly to the size of the pit, and can run from $7,000 to $15,000.

While this cost can be greater than the price to install a pit in the 1970s or 1980s, it is far less than the cost of a loved one's life, injury, or lawsuit.

Please consider closing your unused pit this year. Call (320) 732-2644.