Tons of horse manure from Churchill Downs dumped on vacant lot


by Adam Walser

Posted on January 15, 2013 at 7:30 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 15 at 7:46 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- There was a stinky situation as truckloads of horse manure were removed from a vacant lot near one of Louisville's busiest streets.

The manure came from Churchill Downs and was discovered off Fern Valley Road.

It is believed to have been dumped there by a worker for a company that has a contract to remove the waste from Churchill Downs.

It was removed by that company Tuesday, but there are still some questions about exactly how and why it ended up there.

Steam rose from piles of manure as men used heavy equipment to load it into trucks and haul it away Tuesday.

The manure-filled hay was dumped in recent weeks on a vacant commercial lot off Fern Valley Road.

The property's caretaker Rick Cook says whoever dumped it removed a security chain and left it without the permission of the owner.  

“If it was in the country and you were placing it on a field for organic compost, that'd be one story. To put it on the ground in an area like this, it's just kind of unheard of,” Cook said.

The pile was about a hundred yards from a Holiday Inn.

There was so much manure, Cook knew it had to come from Churchill Downs, where hundreds of the world's top thoroughbreds use tons of hay and produce tons of manure during spring and fall meets.

Employees of Equine Organic, LLC, the company hired to remove the waste from Churchill Downs, were cleaning it up.

WHAS11 reached the company's owner by phone, who told us he learned one of his employees admitted dumping the manure after claiming someone told him to leave it there.

The company, which pays employees by loads delivered, could not verify his story.

That's why Cook thinks the steaming pile ended up where it did.

“It's just a quick place to dump and get back,” Cook said.

Equine Organic has had a contract with Churchill Downs for 10 years, removing 25 to 30 truckloads a week.

The owner says there has never been a problem involving dumping before this one and says most of the waste is given or sold to farming operations, which use it as fertilizer.