Poking holes in Markell water initiative
Gov. Jack Markell recently stated that the condition of Delaware water is “embarrassing and unacceptable.” With 86 percent of rivers and streams unswimmable and 94 percent not supporting fish and wildlife, who could argue?
DNREC’S Collin O’Mara recently said that recreation and tourism employ 30,000 people and is the lifeblood of Sussex County and an economic driver.
While refreshing to hear of plans for a clean water initiative, Gov. Markell and Sec. O’Mara must realize that it will take more than doubletalk and $700 million to clean up Delaware’s dirty water problem. Business as usual at any cost must stop. This “too big to hold accountable” mentality of the Markell Administration is no longer acceptable. Residents are now stuck holding the bag for the contamination at the former Vlassic/Pinnacle Plant.
To add insult to injury, Pinnacle, a viable company listed in the top Fortune 1000, recently purchased Wishbone Salad Dressing for $580 million. Now there is a proposal for a South Korean processing plant at the contaminated site. The proposed Allen Harim facility wants to process two million chickens per week (104 million per year) and dump the 14 million gallons of wastewater per week into Wharton’s Branch, a tributary of the Indian River. Harim also wishes to build 100 confinement barns (factory farms) in a 50-mile radius to supply the birds for the slaughter facility.
You can’t have it both ways Governor Markell. Good environmental policy is always good economic policy. If the Indian River is the “lifeblood” of Sussex County, then respect it. It is not the personal toilet bowl for “Too big to hold accountable.”
Cindy Wilton Protecting Our Indian River Citizens Group
Cindy Wilton’s opinion: Board of Adjustment seems to favor Bethany over Millsboro
Sussex County Board of Adjustments Denies “Cell Phone Tower”
but Allows for a ”Potentially Hazardous Use Permit”
If you haven’t read the article, here’s the link:
The news paper quoted the BOA members as saying “It comes down to the
residents ability to enjoy their property” and “they (AT &T) had not
exhausted opportunities for other locations” and “In my opinion, it has
substantially adversely affected the use of their property” and “the tower
would substantially adversely affect neighboring properties”.
As a resident, which attended the 1st original meeting on June 3rd, and all
the others that followed, I am confused as to why that same logic and
consideration did not take place by the BOA when the Allen Harim Chicken
slaughterhouse came before the BOA for the “Potentially Hazardous Use
Permit”., and then was granted on September 23, 2013.
How is it when a Chicken Slaughterhouse is planned to be put in a
residential community in Millsboro, which less than a mile down the road is
an elementary school, and a little further is a middle school, that the BOA
doesn’t take the same position!! I am sure if the Chicken Slaughterhouse
comes to fruition that it will affect the nearby resident’s ability to
enjoy their property, property value, and most importantly *how it will
affect the health and well being of the communities that SURROUND this
proposed facility. *In addition, I don’t believe Allen Harim has
exhausted opportunities for other locations? How is it that the BOA
didn’t treat the local Millsboro people like they did the people in Bethany
*DISCRIMINATION AT ANY LEVEL IS UNACCEPTABLE.*
Impact of poultry plant will ripple through Sussex
By Jay Meyer | Jan 17, 2014
DNREC’s integrity at stake with Pinnacle
The integrity of DNREC as a regulatory agency to uphold community standards requires immediate examination and scrutiny.
With this current debacle of the Pinnacle Foods complex remediation, Secretary O’Mara can no longer declare he is a proponent of clean environments for Delaware. Additionally, the allowance of more multi-source pollution in the Inland Bays is unacceptable. By their own report card, The Center for Inland Bays grades the swimmable and fishable coastal waters to be a D-plus.
Non-point source pollution from the needed 50 percent increase in local chicken production to supply Allen Harim will degrade the 600-square-mile watershed significantly. This industry will require disposal of wastewater (a NPDES permit) or a proposal for RIBs, a rapid infiltration basin which “recharges” the aquifer.
Given the lack of responsible evaluations of well water contamination presently, DNREC faces significant legal challenges from organized opponents.
Recent administrative oversight from EPA headquarters disavowed the attempt by Secretary O’Mara to transfer an expired NPDES permit to a non-conforming use for Harim Industries. The DNREC administrative process is hardly representative of fairness, transparency and accountability to cumulative impacts regarding public health and safety on this issue.
Furthermore in 2014, Delaware plans to re-write the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA), allowing for more industrialization of shorelines, and continue the permitting process for a new Rehoboth Beach ocean outfall (for municipal wastewater effluent) flowing directly into habitat for endangered and threatened species.
Violating Delaware Section 7 Administrative Codes, setting pernicious legal precedents and continual desecration of the coastal bays and oceans is all part of the future playbook for DNREC.
West Fenwick Island
EPA To DNREC: The Expired Vlasic NPDES Permit Cannot Be Modified For Harim Poultry Operation
Protecting our Indian River Citizens Group received word on Friday that DNREC cannot modify the expired Vlasic NPDES permit for the proposed Allen Harim Poultry Processing Plant, which would slaughter 104 million birds per year, discharging into the Indian River. “We are extremely grateful to the EPA for addressing our concerns.” said Cindy Wilton, of the citizens group.
Water pollution degrades surface waters, often making them unsafe for drinking, fishing and swimming. As authorized by the Clean Water Act, The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program controls water pollution by regulating point sources that discharge pollutants into waters of the United States.
The email sent to Maria Payan of Socially Responsible Agriculture Project, (a non-profit assisting the community),from Region 3 of EPA’s Office of NPDES Permits and Enforcement stated:
Proposed Redevelopment of the Former Vlasic Pickle Facility in Dagsboro, Delaware – Allen M. Harim Foods has entered into a Brownfields Development Agreement with the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), with the intent of purchasing the site of the former Vlasic Pickle facility and converting it to a poultry processing plant. DNREC’s Community Involvement Advisory Council held a recent public meeting on November 21, 2013, regarding this potential change in industry and ownership at the site. EPA’s NPDES Permits Branch has spoken with DNREC regarding the state’s plans for moving forward with NPDES permitting of the proposed new facility. The NPDES permit for the former Vlasic Pickle Facility expired on October 31, 2013. DNREC has administratively extended the permit and informed EPA that it intends to transfer ownership of the site to Allen Harim Foods. EPA has expressed to DNREC that this is not in accordance with federal requirements as it is not permissible to modify an expired permit. In EPA’s Federal Register notice for the 1984 amendment to the NPDES permit regulations, the Agency stated that “Permits which have ‘expired’ cannot be modified. While expired permits may be continued in effect beyond the permit terms under the Administrative Procedure Act and § 122.6 [CPR § 122.5], these permits may only be changed by reissuance.” 49 FR 27998 (Sept. 26, 1984). It is DNREC’s intent to fully reevaluate the NPDES permit limits and requirements for any proposed discharge from the new poultry processing plant. Poultry processing would be subject to the Meat and Poultry Products Point Source Category at 40 CFR § 432, and the permit development process will involve an evaluation of the necessary technology-based and water quality-based permit effluent limits for that type of operation. EPA will continue to discuss future permitting actions for this facility with DNREC to ensure those actions are in accordance with Federal requirements.
“ DNREC must be held accountable. The people of Delaware expect them to do their job. The Indian River must be protected. We have been telling DNREC this for months.” stated Payan.