Sunday, August 12, 2001

Egg farm still without dumping permits

The Associated Press

        COLUMBUS — It's been almost a year since the state ordered Buckeye Egg Farm to get permits that control the amount of chicken manure and other pollution that can be dumped, yet the company has yet to apply for them.

        Christopher Jones, director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, told the Columbus Dispatch that Buckeye Egg officials told the agency they don't need the permits.

        Buckeye Egg officials did not return messages seeking comment Saturday.

        Mr. Jones says people near Buckeye Egg's farms in Licking, Hardin and Wyandot counties shouldn't have to put up with the company's dumping of large amounts of chicken manure into waterways. The manure also has caused major fly outbreaks and other health hazards.

        State and federal regulators, nearby residents and environmentalists contend the permits' stringent requirements would help end Buckeye Egg's chronic pollution problems. The permits are part of the Clean Water Act, and were originally designed to control industrial pollution. They were later extended to megafarms to control the pollutants generated by the massive livestock operations.

        Two other large-scale farms also were told last year that they must get permits for waste discharge. The companies were singled out for polluting rivers and streams. Both DayLay Egg Farm in Union County and Andreas Farms, a dairy farm in Tuscarawas County, have submitted their applications.

        Buckeye Egg has promised to improve its manure-handling system to settle a legal battle with the state. But lawyers for the state were in court again this week asking for a seventh contempt-of-court charge. They say Buckeye Egg has let manure-filled wastewater seep into a creek near its Licking County farm.

        State and local officials have said manure spills from Buckeye Egg and other megafarms have caused high levels of nitrates in drinking water.


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