Saturday, April 25, 2020

Communities Need to Work Together to Keep Air and Water Safe

As reported in the February 24, 2020 The Daily Times, community members in Millsboro, Delaware were relieved to finally settle a legal dispute with Mountaire Farms over the company’s possible pollution of land near their homes. In the article, Mountaire was accused of over spraying hundreds of acres of farm fields with containments that violated its waste-disposal permit. Local residents suspected some of their poor health matters were linked to the pollution of their water.
In 2017 the Environmental Protection Agency, aware of the already dangerous drinking well water in the area, ordered Mountaire to stop the pollution. The complaint against Mountaire, more or less, states that the company did not follow that order and about a year later, 105 neighbors of the community retained legal representation. It took about two years of investigation and court activity before the neighbors agreed to a confidential settlement with Mountaire Farms. The article in The Daily Times implied that Mountaire is working to improve the ground water situation, however the community must still rely on bottled drinking water.
This settlement is only one of many state and federal cases concerning the spraying of containments on farm lands in Delaware by Mountaire.
The article goes on to cite other cases in which the poultry processor has been accused of taking short cuts and under reporting their ground spraying activities. In a separate case, brought on by 800 residents near Mountaire’s Millsboro plant, the complaint states that the company had been contaminating their ground water and polluting their air for decades. While this case has been stayed by the US District Court for Delaware, regulators agree that the amount of containments will still not fall within permitted levels while the wastewater plant is upgraded. Saying they were left out of negotiations between Mountaire and the DNREC, the complainants oppose the current agreement.
The Daily Times article describes a good example of how communities can work together to shine a light on those who might ignore regulations that are put in place to protect us all. Not all outcomes are perfect, but without action, pollution may run rampant. Our community must let the offenders know we will not stand idly by when our well-being is on the line. The Neighborhood Action Group (NAG) has been working to ensure that those who store and spray the wastewater treatment process known as Dissolved Air Flotation (DAF) are held within the boundary of governmental regulation at all levels, and that those regulations safeguard the community. Please help support NAG by sending donations to help pay legal costs to:
24790 Porter Mill Road
Hebron MD 21830

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