Pig farm foes turn noses up at expansion

Pig farm foes turn noses up at expansion

There are 28 comments on the Baltimore Sun story from Dec 18, 2007, titled Pig farm foes turn noses up at expansion. In it, Baltimore Sun reports that:

Mark and Diane Thomas were accustomed to farm life when they moved from Maryland into a charming 1830s log home here on 19 acres.

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Laura Wat

AOL

#1 Dec 18, 2007
I personally have been working with the concerned citizens group and also have a relative who is very knowledgable of the ramifications such a factory would pose on our Chesapeake Bay watershed. The farmer proposing this factory expansion truly needs to educate himself on what this will do to the community. He stands to earn an enormous profit from the proposed expansion if passed as do some of the surrounding farners who agreed to allow the spread of the tons of pig manure on their fields. If he REALLY understood what this proposed expansion would do to his family and their health he would NEVER propose to spread the manure around the fields in nearby and surrounding land. Instead he would ethically ship it to flat barren land in the mid west where a hog factory in Whiteford (northern Harford County) currently disposes of the pig waste in this manner. Maryland law requires it to be handled this way. Get your legislators in PA to pass such laws to prevent farmers such as Gemmill from polluting our already polluted tributaries.
laura yanney

Louisville, OH

#2 Dec 18, 2007
thank you for your article-please print more- we need the Sun to shine on this very important issue and Peach Bottom Concerned Citizens Group Inc,needs all the help they can get from their neighbors in maryland. contact us at pbccg po box307 delta pa 17314
Been There

Baltimore, MD

#3 Dec 18, 2007
I live in Stewartstown where we spent the last 3 years fighting a hog CAFO and lost. The placement of the hog barn was so poorly chosen that no US company would touch it. Our local environment and the health of our neighbors is now being compromised by hogs that originate and ship back to CANADA! It is beyond me how farmers just cannot or will not comprehend the destruction they are bringing upon their communities and their own families with this type of "farming". There is evidence stacked upon evidence of the dangers but they choose to close their eyes and ears to the truth.
Bill Hannegan

Lancaster, PA

#4 Dec 18, 2007
Tom:

Appreciate the story on the hog farm controversy. Thought you would be interested to read about EPA launching a probe in Lancaster County, Pa., of CAFO with 2,800 breeding hogs producing 50,000 to 60,000 piglets a year. Link below will get you to my story" EPA tests water at hog farm." Bill Hannegan, Staff, Intelligencer Journal.

http://local.lancasteronline.com/4/213796
Rohrer

United States

#5 Dec 18, 2007
Dont let what happened to Lititz happen to you....
"EPA tests water at hog farm
Samples also taken from Lititz system
By BILL HANNEGAN, Staff
Intelligencer Journal
Published: Dec 15, 2007 1:07 AM EST
LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa - Agents from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency took water samples Tuesday from a Penn Township hog farm, eight neighboring wells and a residence served by Lititz Borough Water System.
The samples will be tested for nitrate and fecal coliform, EPA spokesman David Sternberg said Thursday. He said results are expected in a couple of weeks.
EPA regulates the byproducts of animal waste to protect drinking water,'the first priority here,' Sternberg said.
Sternberg said EPA took well-water samples from the farm owned by Dale Rohrer, 762 W. Lexington Road,'to evaluate compliance' with Rohrer's permit for a concentrated animal feeding operation. The locations of the 'eight domestic wells' were not identified.
The agency also said it took a tap sample from a private residence served by the Lititz water system to check for compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act. The residence was not identified.
EPA is 'investigating the possibility that pollutants generated at Rohrer farms may have reached an underground source of drinking water,' EPA Regional Administrator Donald S. Welsh wrote in a letter received Monday by U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa.
Local officials offered no comment.
'[E]xcessive levels of nitrate in drinking water have caused serious illness and sometimes death,' according to the EPA Web site, which states,'Fecal coliform and E. coli ... can cause short-term effects, such as diarrhea, cramps, nausea and headaches....
'[N]itrates have a high potential to migrate to ground water. Because they do not evaporate, nitrates/nitrites are likely to remain in water until consumed by plants or other organisms.'
The farmer, a Penn Township zoning hearing board member, must maintain a permit for a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System because his operation houses 2,800 sows and breeds 50,000 to 60,000 piglets a year.
Levels of nitrate as high as 2.76 times federal standards for public drinking water have been detected in monitoring wells at the farm since October 2006. Nitrate in public drinking water is limited to 10 parts per million.
Fecal coliform levels of 52 colonies per 100 milliliters were detected in a monitoring well at the farm in October and November 2006. Fecal coliform of 1 colony per 100 milliliters was recorded in September. Fecal coliform is banned from public drinking water.
The farmer must have a state-certified lab conduct the water tests on a quarterly basis as a condition of his state permit to operate the controlled animal feeding operation. Rohrer retained Pure-Test Water Laboratory of Myerstown to conduct the tests.
Other conditions of the permit required Rohrer to install steel-reinforced concrete walls up against concrete block walls to form the barrier between manure pits in Rohrer's three hog barns and the Lititz Groundwater Protection Area.
Levels of nitrates between 1.42 and 1.89 times federal standards were recorded July 30 in untreated water entering the Lititz system in July. Lititz relies on seven wells drawing supplies from the groundwater protection area.
The findings of nitrate in raw water by Analytical Laboratory Services Inc. of Middletown were reported to Lititz Borough council Aug. 28.
At the council meeting, Carl Kline, spokesman for the Lititz water plant, said the system's treated water is safe to drink.
Brian

Frederick, MD

#6 Dec 18, 2007
A couple of ideas come to mind:
- Move. Really if you don't want to live near a pig farm, move.
- Don't eat pork
- If you are so concerned about bacteria, move to a plastic bubble and eat tofu.
- Send Chuck Norris to the farm to roundhouse kick the pigs.
Been There

Baltimore, MD

#7 Dec 19, 2007
Brian,

Ever try to sell a house near a pig farm? If we don't want to live there why would anyone else?

We eat pork, but only locally raised an butchered pork, not the antibiotic laced junk raised by these CAFO's and sold in grocery stores.

If you would not be concerned about bacteria being ingested by your family then you are a fool.

Nobody is blaming the pigs so there is no need to be kicking them...they are already being abused enough by being warehoused in these hog factories their whole lives.
NEWS AT 10

United States

#8 Dec 19, 2007
Northeast Agri Systems
Flyway Business Park
139A West Airport Road
Lititz, PA 17543 and

28527 Boyce Road
Laurel, DE 19956
built the
Dale Rohrer hog farm, are they building this one too?
Jim

United States

#9 Dec 19, 2007
This is a national problem, If you don't believe it come to Carroll County, Indiana and see for yourself how these mega farms destroy the community when they move in. We are not only the largest producer of hog waste in the state but now we are now putting in three mega dairys with 2000 or more cows each (each dairy producing the waste equivlant to a city of 45,000 people) brought to us by foreign corporations. More such dairys are planed to move in here within a couple of years.
Rose

United States

#10 Dec 19, 2007
If you want to know how factory farms work you need to see these. America need to stop these farms before we create our own plagues.

http://www.themeatrix1.com/
http://www.themeatrix2.com/
http://www.moremeatrix.com/
Trish

United States

#11 Dec 19, 2007
This is terrorism at its finest. If someone would pollute a water supply by adding anthrax or small pox they would be getting a one way trip to Guantánamo Bay for some water boarding. Yet we allow factory farms CAFO’s to pollute the water. Instead of life in prison for the polluter, we subsidize them with our tax dollars. While the farmers are making millions of dollars, the residents are spending millions of dollars to remove what they put into the ground water. It time to educate the public, more stories please!!!
farmgirl york pa

Louisville, OH

#12 Dec 21, 2007
greed not need is the name of the game for most of these mega operations.Brent Hershey of Hershey Ag orders grain by the trainload and by setting up mega animal factories creates the market for his grain-He has no responsibility or loyalty to the communities he sets up shop in. He just grows his antibiotic, hormone laden, gentically bred pigs and sells them to the sheep lined up at the Walmart checkout. As long as the consumer wants cheap look alike food and doesn't care what they put into their families mouths and bodies, you'll always have greedy devils waiting to sell you a sugar coated turd all the while convincing you how good it is. WE MUST DEMAND BETTER FOOD SOURCES THAT DON'T DENY THE LAWS OF NATURE AND DESTROY THE GOOD EARTH BENEATH OUR FEET-AS FARMERS WE ARE SUPPOSED TO BE GOOD STEWARDS OF THE LAND AND BE ABLE TO TAKE PRIDE IN THE FOOD WE PRODUCE FOR THE NATION! Our family farm would be ashamed to shake on a deal with the likes of these mega producers-we'd never get the stink off our hands!!FIGHT THESE COMPANIES OFF BEFORE THEY PUT US LITTLE GUYS LIKE US OUT OF BUSINESS -JUST LIKE WALMART DID TO THE MA AND PA STORES UNLESS YOU LIKE NOT HAVE A CHOICE OR A VOICE!!!!!
farmgirl york pa

Louisville, OH

#13 Dec 21, 2007
PS. PEACH BOTTOM CONCERNED CITIZENS- KEEP YOUR EYE ON YOUR PO BOX FOR A CHECK FROM OUR FAMILY-WE CAN'T SEND MUCH BUT WE'RE WILLING TO HELP YOU WITH YOUR EFFORTS- WE KNOW HOW EXPENSIVE THIS BATTLE IS- OTHERS SHOULD DO THE SAME!!!! THE ADRESS WAS PBCCG PO BOX 307 DELTA PA 17314
Trish

United States

#14 Dec 23, 2007
Amen farmgirl!!!! Even other farmers want this stopped. Its not anti-agriculture its anti-pollution, anti monopoly and most of all common sense. Would any person with a brain want a toxic landfill in their back yard that would decrease property values, may make residents sick, may pollute the water, fill the air with stench and be an eyesore to everyone, NO!!! The only difference is that instead of a landfill, it’s a corporate hog factory with the same end results.
Ski Bum

United States

#15 Dec 27, 2007
Local hog farm under investigation by DEP
Photo by Michael Yoder
The sign for Lexington Acres Farm sits outside the driveway at 762 W. Lexington Rd. in Penn Township. The farm is being investigated by the Pennsylvania DEP to determine if the structures were constructed the right way and that they are not leaking manure.
MICHAEL YODER
Record Express Staff
Photographic evidence of construction damage at a hog farm in Penn Township, just west of Lititz, has initiated concerns about the possibility of water contamination.
On Monday, representatives from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection met with Dale Rohrer, the owner of Lexington Acres farm at 762 W. Lexington Rd., to discuss issues brought to light by a complaint filed with the DEP earlier this month.
Sean Furjanic, a sanitary engineer with DEP, said he found out about the situation three weeks ago and wanted to meet with Rohrer to go over the building timeline of two hog barns constructed on his property in 2004 and further information about the project. He said the timeline was the main topic of discussions on Monday.
The location of the farm is of special importance as it sits near the watershed area for Lititz Run and the source of water for Lititz and parts of Warwick Township.
"Any time you have a public water system involved, obviously we want to protect that water supply," Furjanic said.
The investigation started when Furjanic received a series of photographs taken in June of 2004 of hog pits under construction at the West Lexington site. The images show cracks in the walls of the pits designed to contain pig excrement inside the barns.
One of the images also shows an entire seven foot collapsed section of one of the concrete block walls of the pits.
Furjanic said Rohrer had seen the pictures and was aware of the damage during construction.
"It looks concerning when you see the pictures," Furjanic said.
According to Rohrer, the damage took place during an especially rainy stretch of the summer last year, including a storm on Thursday, June 17, which dumped two to four inches of rain on Lancaster County. The same storm caused extensive water damage at Warwick High School.
Rohrer said during construction that week the excavator, Manada Construction Company of Myerstown, caused the collapse of the wall when a skid loader backfilling soil along the pits got too close to the structure and proved to be too much weight for the wall and the saturated ground.
"This is an undisputed fact, for sure," Rohrer said.
Rohrer said the damaged walls were torn out, rebuilt and resealed.
"As far as the damaged walls, everything was 100 percent when (the builders) continued on," Rohrer said. "My main thing is that (the damaged walls) got done and it was done right."
Vaughn Brubaker, president of Manada, said his company took care of the damage created by the skid loader and subsequently took the walls out and replaced them.
He said he received a set of pictures taken at the site in June of 2004 of the damaged walls in the pits.
Ski Bum

United States

#16 Dec 27, 2007
Local hog farm under investigation by DEP
Photo by Michael Yoder

(contd.)
The accident at the construction site took place a week before the Record Express published a story about the farm for the June 24, 2004 edition. The story addressed concerns of local groups and individuals with the location and size of the hog farm and possible negative impacts for the town.
The reporter for the story met with Rohrer and Bill Rogers, a technical consultant on the project, at the building site to discuss progress. At the time of the interview no mention was made of the accident and subsequent repairs.
During the inspection on Monday, Furjanic said he did not enter the inside of the barns to inspect the pits. In fact, Furjanic said the group took a shovel to dig down to the bottom of one of the pits outside of the structure.
He said from the single dig he did not see any leak, but there was some water collected at the bottom of the excavation. He said it could have been surface water drainage, but it is an issue to consider in the investigation.
Rohrer stressed when the barn was originally built he met all the requirements set by DEP and other agencies, including the Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) permit issued by the Lancaster County Conservation District.
Rohrer said the buildings were built exactly to the designs given to DEP and the drawings were approved. He said Jim Miller of DEP worked with him on the project.
Rohrer, who said he was at the building sit every day and knew exactly what the builders were doing, said he is willing to follow any guidelines set by DEP to make sure his farm is complying with set standards.
"My intention is to do everything we need to do," Rohrer said. "But I have to be able to work within my constraints."
Besides Rohrer's interests in the investigation, there are several other entities involved in the building process and the subsequent hog operation at the farm.
Northeast Agri Systems, a local Lititz company located at 139A W. Airport Rd., was the company who installed the pits at the barns and helped design the structures.
Dave Newman, general manager for Northeast, said he would not comment on the investigation at Lexington Acres.
"As far as this Rohrer thing, I really have no comment," Newman said.
Another company, Country View Family Farms of Mount Joy, actually leases the barns from Rohrer and runs the everyday operation of raising the pigs. Rohrer then takes care of the manure produced in the barns.
Country View is part of The Clemens Family Corporation in Hatfield, a town outside of Philadelphia. The corporation also includes Hatfield Quality Meats, Wild Bills Beef Jerky and CFC Logistics.
According to their website, Country View owns 42,000 sows in Pennsylvania and markets more than 750,000 hogs annually. It owns and contracts farms throughout the mid-Atlantic region, operating at 148 farms in 22 counties throughout Pennsylvania.
This is not the first time a farm leased or owned by Country View has come under investigation by the DEP. In March of 2003 a farm managed by Country View in Bradford County was investigated by the Northcentral Regional Office of the DEP for a manure leak.
Dan Spadoni, an official with the DEP in the Northcentral Region, said Country View and another company, Hostetter Management Co. LLC, were fined $7,148 for the leak and were ordered to implement a plan and time schedule to fix the problem.
"(Country View) did do everything they were supposed to do in the designated time frame," Spadoni said.
Furjanic said there are several options moving forward in the investigation at Lexington Acres. He said the first requirement he gave is for Rohrer to hire an engineer to look at the barns and the other facilities on the farm to look for leaks in the structures.
Ski Bum

United States

#17 Dec 27, 2007
Local hog farm under investigation by DEP
Photo by Michael Yoder
(contd.)
From there he said the investigation could go further with a pressure test in which water is pumped into the pits in the barn to see if there is any leakage. Some possible remedies that could occur if problems are found include going back to reinforce the concrete block walls or even the demolition of the structures.
Furjanic said the problem at the site is a little ambiguous because it is a situation going on beneath the surface and not a situation where there is obvious pollution taking place such as a drain pipe piping raw sewage into the water.
Furjanic said the barn does not pose an immediate threat such as a spill, but there needs to be more investigating to determine what problems could exist.
"We're in the initial stages of investigation," Furjanic said. "It's going to be looked at carefully and not going to be done in a rush-rush manner."
As far as the people involved in the investigation, Furjanic said Rohrer was very cooperative on Monday and gave him the information he needed.
"I think (Rohrer's) interested in doing the right thing," Furjanic said.
Ski Bum

United States

#18 Dec 27, 2007
Local hog farm under investigation by DEP
Photo by Michael Yoder
(contd.) out of order
The accident at the construction site took place a week before the Record Express published a story about the farm for the June 24, 2004 edition. The story addressed concerns of local groups and individuals with the location and size of the hog farm and possible negative impacts for the town.
The reporter for the story met with Rohrer and Bill Rogers, a technical consultant on the project, at the building site to discuss progress. At the time of the interview no mention was made of the accident and subsequent repairs.
During the inspection on Monday, Furjanic said he did not enter the inside of the barns to inspect the pits. In fact, Furjanic said the group took a shovel to dig down to the bottom of one of the pits outside of the structure.
He said from the single dig he did not see any leak, but there was some water collected at the bottom of the excavation. He said it could have been surface water drainage, but it is an issue to consider in the investigation.
Rohrer stressed when the barn was originally built he met all the requirements set by DEP and other agencies, including the Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) permit issued by the Lancaster County Conservation District.
Rohrer said the buildings were built exactly to the designs given to DEP and the drawings were approved. He said Jim Miller of DEP worked with him on the project.
Rohrer, who said he was at the building sit every day and knew exactly what the builders were doing, said he is willing to follow any guidelines set by DEP to make sure his farm is complying with set standards.
"My intention is to do everything we need to do," Rohrer said. "But I have to be able to work within my constraints."
Besides Rohrer's interests in the investigation, there are several other entities involved in the building process and the subsequent hog operation at the farm.
Northeast Agri Systems, a local Lititz company located at 139A W. Airport Rd., was the company who installed the pits at the barns and helped design the structures.
Dave Newman, general manager for Northeast, said he would not comment on the investigation at Lexington Acres.
"As far as this Rohrer thing, I really have no comment," Newman said.
Another company, Country View Family Farms of Mount Joy, actually leases the barns from Rohrer and runs the everyday operation of raising the pigs. Rohrer then takes care of the manure produced in the barns.
Country View is part of The Clemens Family Corporation in Hatfield, a town outside of Philadelphia. The corporation also includes Hatfield Quality Meats, Wild Bills Beef Jerky and CFC Logistics.
According to their website, Country View owns 42,000 sows in Pennsylvania and markets more than 750,000 hogs annually. It owns and contracts farms throughout the mid-Atlantic region, operating at 148 farms in 22 counties throughout Pennsylvania.
This is not the first time a farm leased or owned by Country View has come under investigation by the DEP. In March of 2003 a farm managed by Country View in Bradford County was investigated by the Northcentral Regional Office of the DEP for a manure leak.
Dan Spadoni, an official with the DEP in the Northcentral Region, said Country View and another company, Hostetter Management Co. LLC, were fined $7,148 for the leak and were ordered to implement a plan and time schedule to fix the problem.
"(Country View) did do everything they were supposed to do in the designated time frame," Spadoni said.
Furjanic said there are several options moving forward in the investigation at Lexington Acres. He said the first requirement he gave is for Rohrer to hire an engineer to look at
Alec

United States

#19 Dec 27, 2007
As long as people keep eating meat and dairy, these factory farms will continue to exist all over the country. People want cheap meat and dairy, and the government is willing to give tax subsidies and turn a blind eye to the meat industry. But then how does the US get rid of factory farms? STOP EATING MEAT!!! People love to complain about problems, but aren't willing to make sacrifices and take real steps to alleviate them. An easy way to stop the expansion of factory farming is for more people to become vegan. This will reduce the demand for cheap meat and dairy, and there will not be money in investing in new factory farms. Reduce the demand, reduce the factory farms. Simple as that. Giving up meat and dairy is simple to do. I used to be a huge meat eater before learning about the devastating effects of factory farming. Not only do I feel much healthier now, I know I am making a difference reducing pollution from factory farms.
Mark M

United States

#20 Dec 28, 2007
PEACH BOTTOM CONCERNED CITIZENS, hats off to you!!! Best of Luck

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